Greece plans to sell stake in NBG

Greece is gearing up to sell a 20% stake in the National Bank of Greece, a significant move as part of the country’s divestment plan for its lenders. The sale is expected to take place in mid-November, according to sources familiar with the matter, who have requested anonymity since the details have not yet been made public. The primary goal is to attract long-term investors.

The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), a tool established for bank recapitalisation during Greece’s bailout programs, currently holds around 40% of the National Bank. The market value of the bank was nearly €5 billion ($5.3 billion) as of the most recent available data. However, HFSF has decided not to divest its entire stake all at once.

The divestment plan for the National Bank involves selling 15% through a book-building process, while the remaining 5% will be offered to retail investors, as one of the sources revealed. Both the National Bank and the HFSF have declined to comment on this development.

The Greek government is eager to move swiftly with its divestment plan to signal that the nation’s banking sector is returning to normalcy. Greece has faced significant economic challenges, with a debt crisis that began in 2010, resulting in a substantial reduction in the country’s gross domestic product and a significant amount of bad loans held by its banks. However, Greek lenders have managed to reduce their non-performing loan ratio to below 10%, and the economy is now growing faster than many of its European counterparts.

Earlier in October, the HFSF completed its first divestment when Eurobank Ergasias Services and Holdings SA repurchased all the shares held by the fund. The HFSF also has ownership stakes in Piraeus Bank SA and Alpha Bank SA, with its efforts signalling a broader shift in Greece’s financial sector as it seeks to recover from the challenges of the past decade.

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