Piraeus Bank Gets Shareholder Approval for € 1 Billion Share Offer
ATHENS, April 7 (Reuters) – Bank of Piraeus BOPr.AT, one of Greece’s four largest lenders, got the go-ahead for a share offering slated to raise around 1.0 billion euros ($ 1.19 billion) from shareholders at a meeting extraordinary Wednesday.
The bank, 61.3% owned by the Greek bank rescue fund, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), said the offering of new shares would dilute the HFSF stake to a minority stake without any blocking power, which means less than 33%.
Chief Executive Officer Christos Megalou told shareholders the plan would help the bank reduce the bad debt ratio within its overall debt portfolio.
“Reducing our stock of non-performing exposures (NPEs) is the priority of the ‘Sunrise’ plan … to bring us to a single-digit NPE ratio,” said Megalou.
Piraeus Bank’s NPE ratio at the end of last year was 45%, not including two securitizations that will be completed later this year.
He said cleaning up the bank’s bad debt balance sheet “would enable the sustainable financing of the Greek economy”.
The bank said 99.3% of shareholders present at the meeting voted in favor of the plan to issue new shares.
The share offering will consist of a combined international placement with institutional investors via bookbuilding and a national public offering that will take place simultaneously.
The issue price of the new shares will be determined in the bookbuilding and will be the same for institutional and national investors.
($ 1 = 0.8408 euros)
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; editing by Jan Harvey)
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