UPDATE 1-Greece's National Bank completes 2.5 bln euro share sale

Fri May 9, 2014 3:08am EDT

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By Karolina Tagaris

ATHENS, May 9 (Reuters) - National Bank of Greece (NBG) became the latest of Greece's four major lenders to successfully tap international markets as prospects of a recovery in the Greek economy lure investors.

The country's biggest bank confirmed on Friday it had priced an offering of new shares at 2.20 euros each after books closed on Thursday, as it aims to raise 2.5 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to boost its capital.

"The share offering was substantially oversubscribed, confirming a strong interest by institutional investors in National Bank," it said in a bourse filing.

Its peers Eurobank, Alpha and Piraeus have raised 5.81 billion euros between them through similar equity offerings over the past six weeks.

The new shares in NBG's offering were priced at a 15 percent discount to Thursday's closing price of 2.58 euros.

All of Greece's four major lenders had to be rescued by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), which has been endowed with 50 billion euros out of the country's EU/IMF bailout and has spent about 39 billion on the task so far.

NBG has a stock market value of 6.73 billion euros and is 84 percent-owned by the HFSF, whose stake in the lender will fall to 57 percent after the share issue.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to cover the difference between a 2.18 billion euro capital hole, revealed in a central bank stress test in March, and other moves to boost capital by 1.04 billion euros that have been approved by the Bank of Greece.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley acted as global coordinators and bookrunners, joined by BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, HSBC, UBS and Mediobanca. ($1 = 0.7214 Euros) (Editing by Jane Merriman and David Holmes)

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