Credit Agricole to sell Greek subsidiary for one euro

Credit Agricole said on October 1 that it has started talks to sell its Greek subsidiary Emporiki to Greek lender Alpha Bank, world news agencies reported.

The French bank picked Alpha Bank over its domestic rivals National Bank of Greece and EFG Eurobank Ergasias after several weeks of negotiations, Dow Jones said.

As part of the deal, Credit Agricole said that it would increase its funds injection to Emporiki – which stood at 2.3 billion euro in July – to 2.85 billion euro and buy 150 million euro of Alpha Bank bonds convertible into Alpha Bank shares down the line.

The sale price was one euro, underscoring the French lender’s desire to exit its Greek venture, which many analysts described as disastrous.

The deal, which Credit Agricole wants completed by the end of the year, should help Credit Agricole Group reach solvency targets at the end of 2013, the bank said.

In preparation for the deal, Credit Agricole took direct ownership of Emporiki’s business in Bulgaria, Romania and Albania in June. Emporiki Bank Bulgaria is one of the smaller lending institutions in the country, with assets worth 501.1 million leva at end-March.

(Photo of Credit Agricole headquarters by Pierre Suze, courtesy of Credit Agricole Group.)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.