BRUSSELS, July 9 European Union state aid
regulators cleared on Wednesday the restructuring of Greece's
Alpha Bank by downsizing its international operations,
saying it would ensure the lender's viability.
Greek authorities and the Greek bank stability fund HFSF
have repeatedly bailed out Alpha Bank since 2008, prompting the
European Commission to open an investigation to see if the aid
unfairly gave the bank an edge over rivals.
Alpha's overhaul included rationalising its operating
spending and refraining from costly takeovers.
"Alpha Bank's restructuring will make a significant
contribution to reinforcing the viability of the Greek banking
sector, to the benefit of the Greek economy," European
Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
The EU competition watchdog also approved Alpha's takeover
of Greek peer Emporiki Bank.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by John O'Donnell and Mark