PARIS, July 1 French bank Credit Agricole
is in talks to sell its Greek Emporiki Bank unit and
has received interest from three local lenders, the Financial
Times reported, in the latest sign French banks are drawing back
amid ongoing instability on the euro zone.
French banks, the top foreign lenders to Greece with an
estimated cross-border Greek exposure of $44 billion at
end-December, have been cutting back their exposure since 2011
via sales of sovereign debt and writedowns of their holdings in
Citing two unidentified banking sources, the FT said on its
website that National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank
and Eurobank EFG had indicated they were ready to make
bids for Emporiki subject to getting approval from the Hellenic
Financial Stability Fund.
The newspaper said the Paris-based lender had invited local
banks to submit offers for a stake in its Greek unit in early
June amid fears of a possible bank run in the embattled euro
Credit Agricole, which has poured some 6 billion euros
($7.54 billion) into Emporiki since buying the bank in 2006.
The bank said in May that it had a team working to prepare
for possible outcomes from a Greek exit from the euro zone even
if it saw that as a less probable scenario.
Alpha Bank denied in a bourse filing on June 20 that it was
in discussions with Credit Agricole's subsidiary
Emporiki to acquire parts of its assets.
Credit Agricole could not immediately be reached for
(Reporting By John Irish; editing by Jason Neely)