French banking group Credit Agricole has taken over the Bulgarian arm of its Greek subsidiary Emporiki Bank, along with banking assets in Albania and Romania.
The deal is subject to approval by the Bulgarian National Bank; once regulatory approval is secured, the bank’s name will be changed to reflect the new ownership, the chief executive of Emporiki Bank Bulgaria said, as quoted by Bulgarian newspaper Capital.
“This intra-group transaction is the last step of a process developed since the beginning of 2009 to reinforce links between Credit Agricole S.A. and Emporiki Group’s subsidiaries,” Emporiki said on June 14, as quoted by AFP.
Earlier in the week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Credit Agricole was looking to pull out of Greece and Emporiki, a bank now rated by Moody’s Investors Service just a step above default.
Over the past three years, Emporiki Bank Bulgaria has been upgrading its practices and systems to conform to Credit Agricole standards, a process that will make integration into the French group seamless, Capital said, quoting the bank.
Emporiki Bank Bulgaria is one of the smaller lending institutions in the country, with assets worth 501.1 million leva at end-March.