Erste Group shares drop as foundation sells stake

VIENNA Tue Oct 2, 2012 3:16pm EDT

The logo of Austrian Erste Group Bank is pictured on the wall of a branch office behind a traffic sign in Vienna June 6, 2012. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

The logo of Austrian Erste Group Bank is pictured on the wall of a branch office behind a traffic sign in Vienna June 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Shares in Erste Group Bank (ERST.VI) dropped more than 3 percent on Tuesday after the foundation that is a major shareholder in the Austrian lender sold a 3.55 percent stake.

The Erste Foundation said it had sold 14 million shares at 16.80 euros each, concluding a share sale program to raise about 235 million euros ($303 million) to cover its planned liabilities repayments.

Erste shares traded down 2.6 percent at 17.22 euros by 6.08 a.m. EDT, off a low of 16.99 earlier in the morning, topping the list of decliners in the main Vienna index .ATX.

The Erste Foundation had said late on Monday it would cut its stake to approximately 20.2 percent.

A source familiar with the deal said the share sale was four times oversubscribed.

($1 = 0.7749 euros)

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan in Vienna and Philipp Halstrick in Frankfurt; Editing by Mark Potter)

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