* Invel Real Estate to buy about 66 pct of NBG's Pangaia
* Deal to be partly financed by NBG
* NBG to retain management for 5 years
By George Georgiopoulos
ATHENS, Nov 17 National Bank of Greece, the
country's largest lender, is close to clinching a deal to sell a
majority stake in its fully-owned real estate arm Pangaia to
private equity firm Invel Real Estate, two bankers close to the
deal told Reuters on Sunday.
The sale is part of restructuring efforts by National Bank
(NBG) aimed at boosting its capital base.
Greece's top four banks are implementing restructuring plans
agreed with the European Commission as part of conditions
imposed for their bailouts. The plans involve job cuts, branch
closures and asset sales.
"The agreement will close in the next 10 days. Invel will
acquire about 66 percent of Pangaia for more than 600 million
euros ($808 million)," one of the bankers said.
Invel will pay part of the purchase price for Pangaia in
cash, contribute equity in the form of real estate and finance
the rest with a loan from National Bank, the bankers said.
Dutch-based Invel was set up in March 2013 to take advantage
of opportunities in the European real estate market by offering
investors the ability to co-invest in deals.
BSG Real Estate, controlled by Israeli businessman Beny
Steinmetz, will be one of the co-investors in the transaction,
the bankers said.
"NBG will retain management control at Pangaia for five
years," the other banker said. "The loan by NBG for part of the
majority stake will be at a spread of 275 basis points, secured
by real estate contributed by Invel."
The bankers said the sale would strengthen National Bank's
Core Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio by 40 basis points to 9.6
percent. The Bank of Greece plans to conduct stress tests later
Pangaia's real estate portfolio includes office buildings,
branches operated by NBG and other property recently acquired
from the country's privatisation agency.
Pangaia may pursue a listing on the Athens stock exchange by
2015, one of the bankers said.
The agreement has been approved by the Hellenic Financial
Stability Fund (HFSF), the bank rescue vehicle that
recapitalised the country's big four banks in the summer and is
now their major shareholder, one of the bankers said.
Last month, Canadian firm Fairfax Financial Holdings
announced its intention to raise its stake in Greek
real estate firm Eurobank Properties.