* Bank to meet 10 pct private sector take up
* Acquisitions helped cover negative equity
(Adds chairman's comments, background)
ATHENS, April 23 Piraeus Bank,
Greece's second-largest lender, got shareholders' approval on
Tuesday for a 7.33 billion-euro ($9.55 billion) share issue,
confident it will meet the required private participation in the
sale to avoid full nationalisation.
Shareholders approved the recapitalisation plan to restore
the bank's solvency after losses from sovereign debt writedowns
and impaired loans.
The plan envisages raising up to 400 million euros from a
private share placing and up to 6.94 billion from a rights
issue. Piraeus already had clearance to raise up to 2 billion
euros in contingent convertible bonds, known as CoCos.
Greece has agreed with its international lenders that at
least 10 percent of new equity issues by its banks must be
bought by the market for them to stay privately run.
The rest of the money will be pumped in by the state's
Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), so that without
resorting to CoCos Piraeus needs to raise 733 million euros from
private investors to avoid falling under the full control of the
"We have already gathered 570 million euros and our goal is
to also collect the remaining part to 733 million, so that we
won't need to issue any contingent convertible bonds," the
bank's chairman Michael Sallas told shareholders.
"We are very close to the 733 million mark, there is
interest by Greek and foreign investors," he added. "My feeling
is that we will make it."
Banks being recapitalised do not want to resort to CoCos to
avoid having to pay an annual 7 percent interest on the
Piraeus's management also got clearance for a share
consolidation that will range from five-for-one to 20-for-one to
reduce the number of new shares it will issue.
Piraeus has recently bought three smaller lenders in Greece,
a move which helped it more than plug a 3 billion-euro negative
It bought the healthy part of state lender ATEbank, Societe
Generale's Greek unit Geniki and Millennium BCP's
Sallas said Piraeus has completed its acquisitions and would
not be interested in any remaining small lenders in Greece as
part of any further consolidation across the sector.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Greg Mahlich)