NBG to sell Ro­ma­nia, Ser­bia, Cyprus op­er­a­tions

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Greece’s sec­ond-largest len­der Na­tional Bank (NBG) will sell more as­sets in the Balkans, in­clud­ing its Ro­ma­nian op­er­a­tions, to com­plete a restruc­tur­ing plan agreed with Euro­pean au­thor­i­ties, its chief ex­ec­u­tive said yes­ter­day. Like other big Greek banks, NBG has been slim­ming down by di­vest­ing as­sets and for­eign sub­sidiaries to fo­cus on bank­ing at home, with pro­ceeds boost­ing cap­i­tal ra­tios and liq­uid­ity. “We are very close to an­nounc­ing the buyer for Banca Ro­maneasca,” CEO Leonidas Fra­giadakis told Reuters in an in­ter­view. “The sale will be con­cluded in the next few months, it will be cap­i­tal-ac­cre­tive and ben­e­fi­cial to liq­uid­ity.” He said Credit Suisse was ad­vis­ing the group on the sale. The buyer for the wholly owned Ro­ma­nian sub­sidiary, which has a net­work of about 110 branches, will also pay back a loan of 550 mil­lion eu­ros that Banca Ro­maneasca bor­rowed from NBG, pro­vid­ing a fur­ther liq­uid­ity boost. Apart from Ro­maneasca, Fra­giadakis said NBG would sell smaller op­er­a­tions in Ser­bia, Al­ba­nia and Cyprus as part of com­mit­ments agreed with reg­u­la­tors. “More than 90 per­cent of our restruc­tur­ing has been com­pleted. These op­er­a­tions make up a very small part of the com­mit­ments in the plan,” he said, adding sales pro­cesses were un­der way. Steer­ing the ship dur­ing a tough phase of delever­ag­ing, Fra­giadakis has over­seen the sale of Turk­ish unit Fi­nans­bank, a cash cow for NBG, pri­vate equity unit NBGI, re­sort Astir Palace, Bul­gar­ian unit UBB, its South Africa op­er­a­tions and last week its in­sur­ance unit. The di­vest­ments boosted NBG’s core equity tier-1 cap­i­tal ra­tio by 750 ba­sis points and the sale of the in­sur­ance unit by an­other 110 ba­sis points to close to 18 per­cent. This pro­vides NBG with a sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal cush­ion ahead of an­other round of pan-Eu-

At­tica NPLs. At­tica Bank has com­pleted the se­cu­ri­ti­za­tion and port­fo­lio trans­fer of non­per­form­ing loans adding up to 1.33 bil­lion eu­ros to the SPV (spe­cial pur­pose ve­hi­cle) com­pany Artemis Se­cu­ri­ti­za­tion, which in turn has al­lo­cated the man­age­ment of this port­fo­lio to the Thea Artemis joint ven­ture it has set up with the bank.

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