Investors exercise about 2.4 pct of Alpha Bank warrants

ATHENS Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:19am EST

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ATHENS Dec 11 (Reuters) - Investors exercised about 2.4 percent of Alpha Bank's 1.23 billion outstanding warrants to buy shares in Greece's fourth-largest lender from bank rescue fund HFSF, its major shareholder, an official at the bank said on Wednesday.

About 218 million Alpha Bank shares will be bought from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) as a result of the exercise, meaning proceeds of about 100 million euros ($137.71 million) for the bank rescue fund, the official said.

Investors who took part in the bank's recapitalisation in June were given warrants as an incentive to take part in Alpha's share offering.

As part of Greece's 240-billion-euro international bailout, the country's top four banks, including Alpha, were recapitalised mainly by rescue fund HFSF in June to restore their solvency ratios after losses from a sovereign debt writedown and bad loans.

Alpha had raised 12 percent of the 4.57 billion euros it needed to restore its capital adequacy from the market, with the rest pumped in by the HFSF, which ended up owning 84 percent of the bank.

"The first exercise period which expired on Tuesday will increase the bank's free-float by about 2 percent, reducing the rescue fund's stake to about 82 percent," the official told Reuters, declining to be named.

The warrants give holders the right to buy shares from the HFSF in semi-annual exercise periods up to December 2017.

Final numbers are expected on Friday when the transaction settles.

Warrant holders had the right to acquire 7.41 Alpha Bank shares per warrant at 0.448 euros per share in the first exercise period. ($1 = 0.7261 euros) (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Deepa Babington and Louise Heavens)

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