ATHENS, March 27 Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT), Greece's
third-largest lender, said on Thursday it reached a deal to buy
a majority stake in newly established OJSC Astra Bank in Ukraine
as part of plans to expand in the region.
Alpha Bank said it agreed to buy 90 percent of Astra Bank at
a price reflecting Astra's equity capital of 9 million euros
"With this acquisition, Alpha Bank gains a presence in a
fast growing market in one of the largest countries in
southeastern Europe," the lender said.
Astra Bank plans to set up a nationwide branch network by
2010, targeting 50 branches by the end of this year which will
mean an investment of 130 million euros.
Ukraine's banking market has been on the radar screen of
other Greek banks as well.
EFG Eurobank EFGr.AT has acquired Universal Bank, Piraeus
Bank (BOPr.AT) has bought International Commerce Bank, Marfin
Popular MRBr.AT owns Marine Transport Bank and the Bank of
Cyprus BOCr.AT controls AvtoZAZ Bank.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos, Tatiana Fragou; Editing by