Demand for the 20% stake in Greece’s National Bank (NBG), held by the country’s bank bailout fund, saw an overwhelming response on the first day of the book-building process, covering the offering more than six times, according to an anonymous source with knowledge of the matter.
The state-controlled bank bailout fund, HFSF, had injected approximately 50 billion euros ($54.37 billion) into Greece’s four largest lenders during the country’s decade-long debt crisis, which concluded in 2018.
In October, Eurobank became the first to end the state’s participation in its share capital, preceding S&P Global’s decision to upgrade Greece to investment-grade status, a status it had lost in 2010.
Recently, HFSF concluded the sale of a 9% stake in Alpha Bank to UniCredit and revealed its plans to sell a 20% stake in NBG.
Greece’s second-largest bank, NBG, initiated the sale of its shares through both a public offering and a private placement from November 14 to 16, with shares priced between 5 and 5.44 euros each.
The estimated value of this 20% stake is approximately 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion).
Currently holding a 40.4% stake in NBG and a 27% holding in Piraeus Bank, Greece’s third-largest lender, HFSF has announced its intention to divest all its holdings in Greek banks by the end of 2025.
As for the distribution of the 20% stake in NBG, sources indicate that 17% will be allocated to funds, with the remaining 3% reserved for retail investors.
If demand continues to surge, HFSF might consider increasing the stake available to 22%.
Global coordinators for the sale have been appointed, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and UBS.
The book-building process is set to conclude later this week, and the robust demand for NBG shares reflects investor confidence in Greece’s recovering financial sector, marking a positive milestone in the country’s post-crisis economic revival.