* Eurobank wants to reduce exposure in Romanian unit
* Needs to deleverage non-Greek assets to 8.7 bln euros by
(Adds quotes, background)
ATHENS Feb 10 Greek lender Eurobank
is looking for a strategic partner to buy a stake in its
fully-owned Romanian unit Bancpost as it tries to reduce its
exposure to non-Greek assets, sources at the bank told Reuters
Eurobank, which has operations in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia
and Cyprus, needs to deleverage its non-Greek assets by 2018 to
8.7 billion euros from about 11.2 billion currently, based on
commitments agreed with European competition authorities.
"We have appointed two advisors to search for a strategic
partner to acquire a stake in Bancpost. This would help the bank
reduce its holding in Romania and deliver on commitments to
reduce its exposure abroad," one of the bankers said.
HSBC and Mediobanca are Eurobank's advisors.
Bancpost has total assets of 3.1 billion euros and a network
of 148 branches, employing 2,255 people.
"We do not want to pull out of Romania entirely but cannot
provide additional capital to the bank there for growth. If a
strategic partner buys a stake in Bancpost, our exposure would
be reduced in view of our commitments," the other banker said.
Eurobank, Greece's third-largest lender by assets and 2.4
percent owned by Greece's bank rescue fund HFSF, concluded the
sale of its Ukrainian unit Universal Bank last year, in line
with a restructuring plan agreed with the European Commission.
The value of 38 Greek merger and acquisition deals last year
nearly tripled to 4.4 billion euros from 1.4 billion in 2015,
with the biggest chunk - 75 percent - being sales of Greek
banks' non-core assets, according to business consultancy
Last year's deals included the sale of National Bank's
Turkish unit Finansbank to Qatar National Bank and of
its investment arm NBGI to Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Asset
Likewise, Piraeus Bank sold ATE Insurance to Ergo
International while Alpha Bank divested its stake in
the Athens Hilton hotel and sold its Bulgarian operations to
Postbank, a unit of Eurobank.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Elaine