Greece's Piraeus hire banks to advise on share issue-sources

ATHENS Sat May 18, 2013 9:36am EDT

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ATHENS May 18 (Reuters) - Greece's second-largest lender Piraeus Bank has hired four international investment banks as advisers on its 7.33 billion euro ($9.4 billion) share issue, two bankers close to the procedure told Reuters on Saturday.

"Goldman, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch will be acting as advisers," one of the bankers said.

Greece's top four banks, including Piraeus, need a total of 27.5 billion euros to repair their solvency after losses on sovereign debt writedowns and bad loans, in hopes of regaining interbank access to fund the economy out of its deep six-year slump.

Most of the capital will be pumped in by a state bank rescue fund the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), in exchange for shares. The HFSF is funded with 50 billion euros from the country's bailout package.

Under a recapitalisation scheme agreed with Greece's international lenders, at least 10 percent of new equity issues by its four big banks must be bought by the market for them to stay privately run.

Piraeus is confident it will raise 733 million euros from private investors to avoid falling under the full control of the rescue fund. An underwriting deal would guarantee it.

Earlier in May, peer Alpha Bank secured underwriting for its 457 million euro rights offering by JPMorgan, Citigroup, HSBC and France's Credit Agricole. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by David Holmes)

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