Greece's Alpha plans $1.66 billion capital increase, underwritten by bookrunners

ATHENS Fri Mar 7, 2014 4:51pm EST

People walk in front of an Alpha Bank branch in Athens October 1, 2012. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

People walk in front of an Alpha Bank branch in Athens October 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek lender Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT) said on Friday it was planning to sell new shares worth up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.66 billion) to plug capital holes and buy back preference shares owned by the country's government.

The share issue has already been underwritten by Citigroup (C.N) and JP Morgan (JPM.N), which have been hired to act as joint global coordinators and bookrunners.

"Alpha Bank will consider favorably any participation of existing shareholders and warrant holders in the equity offering", the bank said.

Alpha Bank must plug a 262 million euro capital gap, as revealed by a stress test of Greek lenders unveiled by the Bank of Greece on Thursday. The Greek government owns Alpha Bank preference shares worth 940 million euros. ($1 = 0.7214 euros)

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; writing by Harry Papachristou)

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