Following Piraeus Bank’s absorption of ATEbank -- as the central bank announced on Friday -- developments in the domestic banking system are gaining pace, with the focus now shifting to Emporiki.
The bank owned by the France’s Credit Agricole group is now being eyed by not one but three of the country’s biggest lenders -- National, Alpha and Eurobank EFG, who have expressed an interest in Emporiki to the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility -- making the game a lot more complicated.
If National chooses to proceed with the offer that had been submitted earlier by its recently-departed chief executive officer Apostolos Tamvakakis, then it may be the most likely to land Emporiki.
Otherwise, it will be a two-horse race between two lenders that came very close to merging last year, Alpha and Eurobank.
The buzz in the market, however, is that Alpha has a slight edge, although this may come to nothing in the end. Eurobank was previously pegged as the favorite given that Alpha had considered bidding only for specific assets of Emporiki, but Alpha is now eyeing the full package.