* Piraeus in talks with BCP to buy Greek operation
* BCP was looking to sell unit
(Adds background, details)
ATHENS Feb 6 Greece's second-largest lender by
assets Piraeus Bank is in talks to acquire Portuguese
lender Millennium BCP's Greek unit, a senior executive
at the Greek bank said on Wednesday.
"We are in exclusive talks with Millennium, negotiations are
not yet concluded," the official, who declined to be named, told
Greek banks are consolidating to cope with the country's
debt crisis and a deep recession, which have caused big losses
from government debt writedowns and loan impairments.
Millennium BCP, Portugal's largest listed bank by
assets, was looking to sell its loss-making Greek unit. In
November last year, its chief executive disclosed that the bank
had received several non-binding offers for the Greek operation.
Piraeus Bank has already taken over the healthy part of
ATEbank and French lender Societe Generale's Greek
A deal with Millennium BCP could be modelled after the one
Piraeus clinched with Societe Generale, which effectively paid
the Greek lender to get Geniki off its hands.
French banks SocGen and Credit Agricole, which had
acquired Greek banks as part of an expansion drive, decided to
exit the businesses after the country's debt crisis erupted
leading to a deep economic slump.
Millennium's Greek unit began operations in 2000 under the
name Novabank. It grew its network to 120 branches and currently
employs 1,200 people.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Mike Nesbit)