(Adds details, background; fixes typo in first paragraph)
ATHENS Jan 10 Greece's top three lenders,
National Bank, Eurobank and Alpha,
will not submit binding offers for troubled Hellenic Postbank
, a banker close to the procedure said on Thursday.
Postbank, 44 percent government-owned and deemed not to be
viable, is to be split into a "good" business and a "bad" part
that will be liquidated as part of the sector's restructuring
due to the nation's debt crisis.
"None of the banks will make binding offers tomorrow," the
banker told Reuters, declining to be named. "This means that
Postbank will be wound down and its healthy part will run as a
Athens has agreed with its international lenders to complete
the resolution of Postbank in January.
The three lenders had expressed initial interest for
Postbank, submitting non-binding offers to the Hellenic
Financial Stability Fund, which will carry out their
Set up as a capital backstop for viable banks, the HFSF has
a say on Postbank because it will become their major shareholder
when the recapitalisation is completed this year.
The board of the HFSF convened on Thursday to consider the
offers and whether to give the green light for binding bids that
banks would then submit to the central bank, which is running
the Postbank resolution process, by Friday.
National Bank (NBG) and Eurobank had asked for the decision
to be delayed as bidding for Postbank now would interfere with
their ongoing merger. Both hold small stakes of about 5 percent
"NBG and Eurobank have other priorities now," the banker
NBG wanted to avoid the Postbank race complicating its
tender offer to Eurobank shareholders, which was launched in
October, before the bank expressed its interest in the state
Extending the selection process for Postbank would allow
time for NBG and Eurobank possibly to come up with a combined
But international lenders have pressed for the resolution of
overstaffed Postbank to meet the end-January deadline, the
Smaller rival Attica Bank has also expressed
interest in Postbank directly to the Bank of Greece.
Attica said on Thursday it plans to ask shareholders for
approval to proceed with a rights offering and a convertible
bond issue to raise up to 400 million euros to boost its capital
base. It will hold a shareholders meeting on Feb. 5.
The bank plans to raise 199 million through the rights
offering, issuing new shares 19-for-one at 0.30 euros each.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Dan Grebler)