Greece hires Rothschild, Goldman for Proton, TT bank sell-off


Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:25am EDT

* Rescue fund aims to sell Postbank, Proton by mid-July

* Sale agreed with troika in order meet bailout conditions

* Hires Goldman and Rothschild to advise on sale

* Greek banks Alpha, Eurobank, National seen as bidders

By George Georgiopoulos

ATHENS, June 28 (Reuters) – Greece’s bank rescue fund has
hired Rothschild and Goldman Sachs as advisers on the
sale of lenders Proton and Hellenic Postbank (TT), which are
most likely to be bought by bigger Greek banks, officials told
Reuters on Friday.

TT and Proton, victims of Greece’s economic crisis, were
split into “good” and “bad” parts and are fully owned by the
Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), a capital backstop
with 50 billion euros ($65 billion) of bailout money.

Greece agreed with its international lenders – the European
Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European
Central Bank – to sell the two banks by mid-July in order to get
more bailout funds.

“Goldman is the sell-side adviser on Hellenic Postbank,
Rothschild on Proton,” said one of the officials. The two were
most likely to be bought by bigger Greek banks – Alpha
, National or Eurobank, he said.

A senior Alpha Bank executive told Reuters on Friday Alpha
would look into buying TT. “Yes, we are interested in Postbank,”
he said.

Piraeus Bank has said it will not make any more
acquistions in the near future after taking over Societe
Generale’s and Millenium BCP’s Greek units
and the local operations of three Cypriot banks.

“Eurobank is one of the possible buyers, a lot will depend
on what the other banks do. The advisers will approach all of
them,” a second banker said.

Authorities wound down TT in January after efforts to sell
it failed. They stripped out bad loans from its portfolio and
transferred less risky assets and deposits to a new entity
called New Hellenic Postbank. The bad loans are being
sold.

The HFSF pumped 4 billion euros into the bank to cover its
funding gap – the difference between assets and liabilities –
and a further 500 million to recapitalise it.

Like other Greek lenders, TT was hit by writedowns on Greek
bonds and loan impairments as the country endures its sixth year
of deep recession.

Eurobank, Alpha and National had expressed interest in the
old TT but withdrew in January, leading authorities to wind it
down.

The healthy TT has assets of 13.7 billion euros, deposits of
10.7 billion and a network of about 200 branches. Proton is a
much smaller bank with deposits of one billion euros and 1.3
billion in assets.


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