Investors place bets on Emporiki

A two-day visit to Athens by Credit Agricole’s chief executive, George Pauget, has fueled speculation that the French lender is considering selling its majority stake in Emporiki Bank. Credit Agricole, France’s biggest retail bank, is believed to be disatisfied with the performance of its Greek unit, which showed a loss of 359 million euros in the first half of the year. The majority of Greece’s larger-sized lenders turned profits in the same time period. Pauget, who is expected to leave Athens today, told Kathimerini in an interview in March that Credit Agricole is not considering selling its stake Emporiki Bank. Shares in Emporiki, which is 82 percent-owned by Credit Agricole, soared 8.71 percent on the Athens bourse yesterday to 4.99 euros, outperforming a 1.08 percent decline on the broader market. The French lender had scheduled the released of its five-year business plan for Emporiki Bank for October 7.