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Greece's National Bank intends to sell private equity business-sources

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(Credit: Reuters) A woman makes a transaction outside a closed branch of the National Bank of Greece during a 24-hour strike by bank employees in Athens July 30, 2012.
National Bank of Greece
January 30
11:31 AM 2014

Sources told Reuters that Greece's National Bank or NBG plans to drop its private equity business to bolster its capital. Divesting its London-based NBGI unit would be part of the restructuring plan undertaken by NBG to comply with the terms of the bailout of the European Union or EU and the International Monetary Fund or IMF, the report said.

NBG is one of the four Greek lenders rescued by the EU and the IMF. After Greece was battered by the sovereign debt crisis, the EU and IMF allocated as much as €50 billion or $68 billion to get country's banking sector back on its feet, the report said.

In order to meet the terms of the bailout, all four banks have reduced its workforce, divested non-core assets and raised private capital. A senior banking source who did not wish to be named told Reuters, "NBG is continuing its restructuring plan, and selling NBGI is part of that."

Reuters asked a bank spokesman about the sale but the spokesman did not wish to make a comment. Meanwhile, two other sources from the bank confirmed that NBG was thinking of the sale but they added that it was not about to happen. They added that it would only happen if the price was right. One person knowledgeable about the matter told Reuters, "NBG is not in a hurry, any sale would have to be capital-accretive."

Information from its website showed that NBGI was founded in 2000 and manages assets worth around €900 million spread out in different funds. The private equity and venture capital firm has offices in London, Paris and Istanbul. Its investments include lower middle market buyouts, growth capital for small and mid-sized firms and venture capital for medical technology firms and real estate. Reuters reported that it co-managed two property deals which had a combined value amounting to $1.4 billion.

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