Top Greek banks raise billions

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Piraeus Bank1 Reuters. A woman makes a transaction at an ATM of a Piraeus Bank branch as a man waits for his turn in Athens in this file picture.

Athens - Greece's Piraeus Bank, one of the nation's top four lenders, on Wednesday said it had raised 1.75 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in fresh capital ahead of a full public sale.

The move came a day after Alpha Bank raised 1.2 billion euros, as Greek lenders seek to shore up their balance sheets following a recent recommendation by the central bank.

“Piraeus Bank announces the successful completion of an international book-building to qualified and other eligible investors outside Greece,” the bank said.

It said it had placed more than 1.029 billion new ordinary shares at 1.7 euros per share.

Alpha Bank on Tuesday said it had priced more than 1.84 billion shares at 0.65 euros per share.

Piraeus Bank chairman Michalis Sallas said the two offerings were oversubscribed, with foreign investors bidding 5.5 billion euros in total.

The Bank of Greece earlier this month said the four main Greek lenders - National Bank, Piraeus, Alpha and Eurobank - needed nearly 6.4 billion euros in additional capital.

It said Piraeus needed 425 million euros and Alpha 262 million euros.

National Bank requires 2.183 billion and Eurobank 2.945 billion euros, the central bank said.

The banks had been originally recapitalised last year as part of the Greek EU-IMF bailout.

A sum of 50 billion euros from Greece's EU-IMF rescue loans was earmarked for their recapitalisation after heavy losses suffered by Greek banks which wrote down privately-held Greek government bonds in 2012.

Eurobank was unable to attract enough private funds and was recapitalised by the state.

Piraeus Bank last week successfully completed a three-year bond issue worth 500 million euros, its first in almost five years. - Sapa-AFP

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