The next few days may see important developments in regard to the recapitalization of state-owned ATEbank, following pressure from Greece’s lenders for a solution to the ailing lender’s predicament.

According to sources, representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Greece -- collectively known as the troika -- are demanding an immediate and definitive solution for ATEbank.

There are three solutions on the table, according to sources: The first is a new share capital increase to be covered by its main stakeholder, the Greek state, which appears unlikely given the current fiscal conditions. The second is its division into a healthy company and an unhealthy one, with the latter set for clearing while the former will continue its autonomous operations, along the lines of Proton Bank. The third solution, which is apparently favored by the troika, also provides for a split, but with the healthy part being absorbed by another Greek lender.

The most likely scenario that has emerged, according to sources, is that ATEbank’s operations will be split into a ”good” bank and a ”bad” one, with the healthy side being absorbed by another lender and the unhealthy one being liquidated.

Kathimerini understands that several banks are already considering purchasing the “good” bank, with National and Piraeus being pegged as the favorites for the purchase.

Sources say that Bain & Company, one of the world’s biggest consultancy groups, which also provides assistance to the Bank of Greece, has also expressed its preference for the third solution.

Most importantly, regardless of which of the three solutions is finally chosen, there will be no consequences for those who have deposits in ATEbank or who repay their loans regularly.

ATEbank saw its capital evaporate following the Greek debt haircut in March and, according to analysts, its net position today is negative. The ATEbank Group has already received two deadline extensions for the publication of its 2011 financial report as it awaits details from the government regarding its recapitalization, which need to be factored in.

Analysts, however, put the funds required for the recapitalization at 2.5 billion euros.

ATEbank’s management has been successful in containing expenditure and reducing assets, exceeding targets as far as spending cuts are concerned. It has also managed to sell several of the group’s subsidiaries.

The thorny issue of ATEbank was discussed on Monday between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Bank of Greece Governor Giorgos Provopoulos, according to reports, during a meeting on the recapitalization of the banking system in general.

Ekathimerini.com