Hel­lenic con­firms EBRD takes 5% stake

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Hel­lenic Bank, the re­cently cap­i­talised Cyprus bank that in­cludes New York fund Third Point and online gamer Wargam­ing.Net as its main share­hold­ers, has con­firmed that the Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment (EBRD) has agreed to ac­quire a 5.4% stake.

Hel­lenic Bank’s board an­nounced it has de­cided to pro­ceed in favour of EBRD’s par­tic­i­pa­tion, pro­vid­ing the goa­head to sign an agree­ment with the EU’s de­vel­op­ment bank for the ac­qui­si­tion of 10.7 mln new or­di­nary shares for a to­tal amount of EUR 20 mln.

Back in Fe­bru­ary, the board had ap­proved in­creas­ing the share cap­i­tal by EUR 35 mln in or­der to at­tract new share­hold­ers.

This sig­ni­fies “so­lid­ity and cast­ing a vote of con­fi­dence not only to Hel­lenic Bank, but to­wards the en­tire bank­ing sys­tem and econ­omy of the coun­try,” the Nicosia-based bank’s board said in a state­ment.

The ad­di­tional cap­i­tal raised will strengthen the bank’s Com­mon Eq­uity Tier 1 Ra­tio (CET1) by 50 ba­sis points, tak­ing it to 14%.

The bank’s board said it “looks for­ward to ex­pand­ing the co­op­er­a­tion with EBRD in other ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­est, as they op­er­ate in Cyprus and in­tend to in­vest sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal across var­i­ous sec­tors of the econ­omy.”

The sign­ing of the agree­ment is ex­pected to take place on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 30.

EBRD opened an of­fice in Cyprus last year and an­nounced plans to pump up to EUR 100 mln a year over a 7-year de­vel­op­ment, mainly in the fi­nan­cial, ser­vices and energy sec­tors.

It al­ready in­vested some EUR 120 mln in Bank of Cyprus for a 5% stake when the is­land’s main len­der was twice re­cap­i­talised and now in­cludes share­hold­ers con­trolled by funds man­aged by in­vestor bil­lion­aire Wil­bur R Ross Jr.

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