ATHENS Greece's largest lender National Bank (NBG) (NBGr.AT) will aim to sell 12 percent of its 9.75 billion euros ($12.67 billion) share offering to private investors, more than the level required for it to stay privately run, an official said on Thursday.
Greece's four major banks, including NBG, need 27.5 billion euros in new capital to restore their solvency ratios to levels required by the country's central bank after incurring losses from debt writedowns and impaired loans.
Most of the funds will be provided by a state bank support fund - the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) - in exchange for new shares or contingent convertible bonds (CoCos).
Under the terms of the recapitalisation plan agreed with the country's international lenders, at least 10 percent of banks' new common equity must be raised from the private sector for them to stay privately run.
"Interest has been expressed by shareholders and non-shareholders to take part in the rights offering. Raising the goal to 12 percent allows for more private investor participation," said the official who declined to be named.
NBG's board decided to propose the increased limit at next week's repeat shareholders meeting, which will vote on the recapitalisation plan.
"The move shows that NBG's efforts to gather the required 10 percent may have succeeded and that management feels confident it can raise even more from investors," said Takis Zamanis, chief trader at Athens-based Beta Securities.
Rivals Piraeus (BOPr.AT) and Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT), the country's second- and third-biggest lenders, are expected to meet the 10-percent target. But Eurobank EFGr.AT, the fourth-largest, has given up its fundraising plans, opting instead to fall under full HFSF control.
NBG shares ended 15.8 percent higher on Thursday at 0.71 euros.
($1 = 0.7695 euros)
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)