02 August, 2006
The government said on Tuesday that it had accepted an offer from Credit Agricole of France for the acquisition of 11% of stock the state holds in Athens-quoted Emporiki Bank as part of a public offer.
"The inner cabinet evaluated Credit Agricole's revised offer, which was a great improvement in terms of price versus the original proposal. This is an offer that truly reflects the value of Emporiki Bank," Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis told reporters after the meeting.
Acceptance of the offer was in line with a recommendation by the government's consultants in the sale, and by Emporiki's board, which on Monday backed the deal in a statement to bourse authorities. The French bank is already a strategic investor in Emporiki.
According to management, the new price of 25.00 euros per share at 1.5 euros higher than initially offered was favorable as it lay in the middle of the fair price range and included a premium of 8.7% against the range's lower end, and a premium of 2.25% against the stock's average market price for the month before announcement of the tender offer.
"The inner cabinet's decision was taken on the basis of the public interest, spurring competitiveness in the banking sector, and boosting and an outward-looking approach in the national economy," Alogoskoufis noted.
"Credit Agricole's offer is a sign of confidence in reform being undertaken and in the outlook for the Greek economy, the Greek banking system, and Emporiki Bank itself," he said.
The tender process had followed Greek and European Union law on public offers, ensuring transparency, the minister added.
Source: Athens News Agency