Greece's Alpha Bank says succeeds in recapitalisation plan

ATHENS Wed May 1, 2013 3:22pm EDT

ATHENS May 1 (Reuters) - Greece's third-biggest lender, Alpha Bank, said on Wednesday it found enough investors to back its recapitalisation plan, thus avoiding falling under state control as part of the country's international bailout.

Alpha's 457 million euro rights issue will be fully underwritten by a syndicate of international investment banks, including J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, HSBC and France's Credit Agricole, the lender said in a statement.

Greece's four major lenders, including Alpha, are being recapitalised with a total 27.5 billion euros ($36.3 billion) to restore their solvency after the country's debt crisis.

They will get at least 90 percent of that money from bank bailout fund HFSF, which is financed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

But under the terms of their bailout, they will be nationalised if they fail to attract private investors to cover the remaining 10 percent.

Alpha becomes the second Greek lender after Piraeus Bank to say it has already met the 10 percent requirement.

Piraeus, the second-biggest lender, has already said it raised more than 500 million euros from Portuguese peer BCP Millennium and France's Societe Generale, whose Greek units it took over earlier this year.

Alpha said on Wednesday it became the first Greek bank to have investors fully underwriting its new shares.

Investors in Alpha will get 1.944456 new shares for every existing one, said the bank which priced the new stock at 0.44 euros each. Alpha's existing shares closed at 0.96 euros in Athens on Tuesday, before a May 1 holiday.

National, Greece's biggest lender, has said it aimed to beat the 10-percent recapitalisation target. Eurobank , the smallest top-tier bank, called off the search for private investors, saying it would fall under full state control instead.