Paulson hedge fund discloses Greek bank, water stakes

ATHENS Tue May 6, 2014 11:53am EDT

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ATHENS May 6 (Reuters) - A fund run by billionaire investor John Paulson has acquired minority stakes in a bank and a water company in Greece, adding to evidence the country was attracting international investors back after a deep six-year slump.

Greece's fourth-largest lender, Alpha Bank, said in a statement Paulson & Co. Inc. had disclosed a 5.4 percent stake in the bank, without giving further details.

Alpha was bailed out by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund last year alongside Greece's other three major lenders. A stake of 5.4 percent stake in Alpha was on Tuesday worth 407 million euros ($565 million) on the Athens Stock Exchange, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data.

Paulson, whose moves have been watched closely ever since he earned billions by betting against sub-prime mortgages, said in October he had acquired Alpha shares but had not said how many. Under Greek law, listed firms must reveal all stakes above 5 percent.

Greece's biggest water utility Athens Water (EYDAP) separately said in a bourse filing that Paulson's fund held a 10 percent stake, worth 99 million euros ($137 million). The fund took the stake last week.

Greece was shut out of international bond markets for four years after its debt crisis erupted and was rescued by an EU/IMF bailout.

Its government, banks and some companies have raised about 11 billion euros between them through a string of oversubscribed bond sales and share capital increases in the last six weeks.

Other funds, which have recently invested in Greece at rock-bottom prices include U.S. hedge fund Third Point and Canada's Fairfax.

($1 = 0.7205 Euros) ($1 = 0.7205 Euros) (Reporting by Harry Papachristou; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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