(Adds details, background)
ATHENS, March 25 Greek lender Alpha Bank
said on Tuesday its 1.2 billion euro ($1.65 billion)
equity offering aimed at strengthening its balance sheet and
buying back preference shares owned by the country's government
was priced at 0.65 euros per share.
A stress test of Greek lenders unveiled by the Bank of
Greece this month found Alpha needs to plug a 262 million-euro
capital shortfall. In addition, the Greek government owns
preference shares worth 940 million euros.
The shares were priced at small discount to the closing
price of 0.70 on Monday, and Alpha said would seek approval of
the offering price in a shareholders meeting on March 28.
Greece's four biggest banks - National Bank,
Piraeus Bank, Eurobank and Alpha were
recapitalised last summer to the tune of 28 billion euros.
This month's health check was intended to establish whether
they had enough capital to withstand rising bad loans, a further
economic slump and other shocks, found that they needed to raise
an extra 6.4 billion euros.
The four lenders combined they control about 90 percent of
the country's banking market and are majority owned by the
Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), a bank rescue vehicle
funded with 50 billion euros from the country's bailout.
The HFSF, which recapitalised the banks last summer, has a
remaining buffer of about 8 billion to 9 billion euros to
address any additional needs.
($1 = 0.7258 Euros)
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Writing by Karolina
Tagaris; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Louise Heavens)