Exclusive: EBRD to buy up to 250 million euros of Greek bank stakes – source

A Greek flag is seen through pillars at the Attalos arcade in Athens
A Greek flag is framed by marble pillars at the Attalos arcade in Athens February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

November 12, 2015

By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is set to buy up to 250 million euros of equity stakes of Greece’s four biggest banks, a person with knowledge of the plans told Reuters.

The lenders are Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank that are all at least part owned by Greece’s state-backed bank rescue fund.

“The Bank (EBRD) is prepared to invest in all of Greece’s four big lenders,” the person said on Thursday, adding that it would be able to spend up to 80 million euros per bank to a maximum of 250 million euros.

The investments will be the EBRD’s first in Greece after the bank decided to expand lending to the thrice-bailed-out euro zone country early this year.

It is part of efforts to shore up Greek banks after European Central Bank Stress tests last month showed the four lenders the EBRD plans to take stakes in needed €14.4 billion in additional capital between them to be able weather a major downturn.

Eurobank <EURBr.AT>, which is roughly one-third owned by Greece’s HFSF bank rescue fund and is the country’s third largest lender, said earlier it would get up to 80 million euros from the EBRD as part of its 2.12 billion cash raising plans.

Peter Sanfey, the EBRD’s then Acting Director of Country Strategy and Policy, told Reuters in July that as well as bank stakes it was also eyeing areas like logistics, agriculture and tourism for potential investment.

(Editing by Catherine Evans)