Credit Agricole in talks over Greek unit Emporiki sale

Credit Agricole in talks over Greek unit Emporiki sale

ATHENS - Reuters

France’s Credit Agricole is in talks with at least one bank to sell all or part of its struggling Greek unit Emporiki Bank, a Greek lender and a source familiar with the matter said yesterday.

Greece’s biggest lender, National Bank, said in a bourse filing that it was in talks with Credit Agricole over a “strategic alliance” regarding Emporiki. A Credit Agricole spokeswoman declined to comment.

National Bank of Greece, which is a main partner of local Finansbank, is currently mulling over the idea of selling stocks in order to prop up its capital, according to Reuters.

“There were discussions between the managements of National and Credit Agricole regarding the potential for future strategic alliances, which are at an initial phase,” National said, adding that it would inform investors if the talks bore specific results. National is the first lender to confirm it is in discussions with Credit Agricole over a possible takeover of Emporiki, partial or otherwise, depending on whether Credit Agricole decides to retain a minority stake. Greek media reports suggest that two other Greek lenders, EFG Eurobank and Alpha Bank, have also declared an interest in Emporiki.