Credit Agricole asked to put more cash into Emporiki before sale

PARIS Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:27am EDT

A boy plays an accordion outside of an Emporiki bank branch in central Athens September 21, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

A boy plays an accordion outside of an Emporiki bank branch in central Athens September 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

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PARIS (Reuters) - French bank Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA) could pay an extra 600 to 700 million euros into its Greek Emporiki unit before it can sell it, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of the sales process.

The French lender, which is trying to exit Greece after the country's banks were badly hit by the sovereign debt crisis, has already injected 2.3 billion euros ($2.99 billion) into its local unit.

Greece's central bank is demanding that the group recapitalizes its loss-making unit, acquired in 2006, by another 600 to 700 million euros before it will approve the sale, the paper said.

"Credit Agricole will also have to commit to keeping its current credit line to Emporiki - now with an unused balance of about 1.9 billion euros but likely to be reduced - for another three years," the paper added.

A spokeswoman for Credit Agricole declined to comment.

Credit Agricole has received three offers by Greek banks National Bank (NBGr.AT), Eurobank EFGr.AT and Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT), which would pay 1 euro for the unit.

A decision is expected later this week, the paper said, or as early as the French lender's board meeting on Wednesday. ($1 = 0.7699 euros)

(Reporting by Alice Cannet; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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