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UPDATE 1-Five parties eye Egypt arm of Greece's Piraeus Bank - sources
April 5, 2012 / 12:31 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Five parties eye Egypt arm of Greece's Piraeus Bank - sources

* Five MENA financial institutions interested in business - sources

* Egypt unit valued at over $200 mln

* Further evidence of cash-strapped Greek lenders offloading assets (Adds detail, quote, background)

By Dinesh Nair

DUBAI, April 5 (Reuters) - The Egyptian arm of Greece’s Piraeus Bank, valued at over $200 million, has attracted five suitors from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, two sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Talks are actively ongoing but a sale was not regarded as imminent, one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the negotiations are private.

“There is interest from several MENA-based entities for the stake. The Greek owners have been interested in selling this for a while but the process was held up due to the unrest (in Egypt) last year,” the source said.

Four of the parties have made a bid for the unit, with one more financial institution said to be mulling an offer. The interested parties come from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, the source added.

Turkish lender Isbank confirmed last month it was contemplating a bid for the business as it sought to expand its presence in Egypt.

Piraeus Bank wasn’t immediately available for comment.

A number of Greek lenders have been looking to offload assets to help raise cash as they grapple with the effects of the country’s sovereign debt-fuelled economic crisis.

EFG Eurobank confirmed on Thursday it was in advanced talks with Burgan Bank to sell its 70 percent stake in Turkish unit Tekfen to the Kuwaiti lender.

Sources told Reuters on Tuesday the sale was imminent, with the sale valued at around $350 million.

Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fourth-largest lender, appointed Barclays Capital in December to arrange the sale of the Egypt unit.

Talks to sell the business to Standard Chartered failed in November after the London-listed lender withdrew its interest, citing a worsening economic climate in crisis-hit Egypt. (Additional Reporting by Harry Papachristou in Athens and Nevzat Devranoglu in Istanbul; Writing by David French; Editing by Praveen Menon)

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