Greece’s Bank Bailout Fund to Sell Stake in Piraeus Bank

Greece’s bank bailout fund, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), is set to initiate the sale of a stake in Piraeus Bank, the country’s third-largest lender, by March.

This move follows two previous sales from HFSF since October and is part of the fund’s divestment strategy from Greek banks as they recover from the financial crisis that ended in 2018. HFSF currently holds a 27% stake in Piraeus Bank, with a market value of €4.37 billion ($4.79 billion), and has yet to decide whether it will sell all or part of its shareholding.

The planned sale is expected to occur at the end of February or early March, with potential options including selling 17%-18% or the entire stake. The process may involve a combined sale to both retail and institutional investors.

Bank of America has been appointed as the advisor for the HFSF’s stake in Piraeus Bank. Greek banks, including Piraeus, anticipate strong profits in 2023 and 2024, aiming to resume dividend payments in 2024, a significant development since the onset of the Greek debt crisis in 2010. The move to divest from Greek banks aligns with HFSF’s ongoing efforts to reduce its participation in the sector as the financial institutions recover.

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