Athens: Standard Chartered is considering buying Piraeus Bank’s Egyptian subsidiary, a deal that would boost the Greek bank as it seeks to strengthen its balance sheet in light of the downturn facing debt-laden Greece.
Greek banks, hit by the country’s sovereign debt crisis, have been looking for ways to boost their capital base to cope with a protracted recession at home that has led to a rise in non-performing loans.
“The due diligence will start in the coming days. There will be a relative strengthening of Core Tier 1, which was at 10.8% at the end of March,” a Piraeus Bank official said on Friday.
Piraeus Bank Egypt had equity capital of €103 million, a €737 million loan book, assets totalling €1.38 billion and 48 branches at the end of March. Standard Chartered said it did not expect a material financial impact in any deal.
Piraeus bank said in a statement that a request had been submitted to the Central Bank of Egypt so that due diligence could commence, but that there was no certainty as to whether any agreement would be reached.
The discussions between the parties are also focused on a wider strategic relationship in the areas of trade finance, payments and project finance, Piraeus Bank said.
Piraeus Bank shares were flat at €0.88 at 0922 GMT, in line with the Greek banking index . Standard Chartered shares were up 0.8% at 1,619 pence, outperforming a FLAT FTSE 100 index (.FTSE) in London.
On Thursday, Greece’s second-largest lender EFG Eurobank said it was in initial talks to sell a majority stake in its Turkish unit Eurobank Tekfen as it seeks to safeguard its capital base against debt loses.