Athens Stock Exchange suspended trade shares of National Bank and Eurobank on Friday following a media report that the two banks were in merger talks. An official at Athens Stock official told Reuters that “Trade in their shares will be suspended until the banks comment on the report,” the official who declined to be named said shortly before the suspension went into effect.”
Greek banks NBG, Eurobank in merger talks: sources
Two of Greece’s biggest banks, National Bank (NBGr.AT) and Eurobank (EFGr.AT) are in talks on a merger that would create the country’s biggest lender, banking sources told Reuters on Friday.
Shares in NBG and Eurobank were suspended from trading on the Athens stock exchange on Friday after a press report that the two were in talks.
Greece’s banks are under pressure to consolidate after deep losses from the country’s debt restructuring, plus deposit outflows and rising bad loans.
National Bank (NBG) has tried twice to merge with rival Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT) without success. Alpha has reached a deal to buy Credit Agricole’s (CAGR.PA) ailing Greek unit Emporiki Bank, beating NBG and Eurobank which were also interested. (Reuters; see also here)
According to economic news portal Capital.gr , rumors about merger talks have been circulating the whole morning and as of 2 pm, not official confirmation or dismissal has been made public. Citing NBG sources, capital.gr speaks of a board meeting at 5 pm Friday.
The merger is being considered as a ‘good solution’ as the option for cooperations among banks are limited.
Should the alleged talks end in a merger, the new bank will be the biggest in Greece and will have a very strong presence in the broader South-East Mediterranean area.
In Greece, NBG has 580 branches and Eurobank more than 400, Capital.gr writes.
UPDATE: On Friday evening, National Bank of Greece made a share-swap offer to buy all of rival Eurobank and create the country’s biggest lender, it said on Friday, the latest move in efforts to consolidate the Greek banking industry. (Full article Reuters)