* Goldman and Morgan Stanley hired to manage sale -sources
* National Bank aims to raise up to 2.5 billion euros
* Confidence in Greece returning, 2013 budget targets met
(Adds background, budget data)
By George Georgiopoulos
ATHENS, April 14 National Bank of Greece
is moving ahead with plans for a share offering to
bolster its capital, two senior bankers familiar with the issue
told Reuters on Monday.
Greece's biggest lender, which must plug a 2.18 billion euro
($3.03 billion) capital shortfall under the terms of the
country's international bailout, has picked Goldman Sachs
and Morgan Stanley as global coordinators for the equity
offering, the bankers said.
"A management board meeting has been called for tomorrow to
discuss the plan, which will likely raise up to 2.5 billion
euros," one of the bankers said.
The offering is unlikely to include pre-emption rights for
existing shareholders, the banker added.
A senior National Bank executive had told Reuters at the
weekend that the bank was considering an equity sale, sending
its shares down 14 percent by 1008 GMT on Monday, the biggest
faller on the FTSEurofirst 300 index.
National Bank delined to comment, but it had previously said
it would not resort to an equity issue to plug the capital gap
and would instead focus on cost cuts and the sale of non-core
On Friday central bank chief George Provopoulos encouraged
National Bank to follow the example of peers Piraeus Bank
, Alpha Bank and Eurobank by
seeking to tap capital markets.
Provopoulos's statement came after Greece's bailed-out
government returned to bond markets last week after a four-year
exile, raising 3 billion euros in a sign of growing investor
confidence in the country.
Greece, which has been bailed out twice by the European
Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2010, is
likely to obtain further debt relief after its statistics agency
ELSTAT confirmed on Monday that the government has met its 2013
($1 = 0.7201 Euros)
(Writing by Harry Papachristou; Editing by David Goodman)