Greek banking group Eurobank EFG has agreed to buy the branches of its domestic rival Alpha Bank in Bulgaria, the two lenders said in a joint statement.
The merger, expected to be completed by the end of the year, would make Postbank – Eurobank’s subsidiary in Bulgaria – the country’s fourth largest lender by assets and was also in line with Alpha Bank’s restructuring plan to focus on core markets, approved by the European Commission in 2014, according to the statement.
Postbank will acquire Alpha Bank’s entire operations in Bulgaria, including 254 million euro in deposits and gross loans worth 410 million euro. According to Bulgarian central bank statistics, Alpha Bank had assets worth 3.4 billion leva (about 1.74 billion euro) at the end of the third quarter, including 2.6 billion leva (1.33 billion euro) in its loan portfolio.
Once the merger is completed, Postbank will have branch network of 200 offices in Bulgaria and employ more than 3000 people, boosting the lender’s presence in both retail and corporate business banking segments, the statement said.
The deal will require regulatory approval in Greece and Bulgaria, as well as European institutions, including the European Central Bank and its Single Supervisory Mechanism. In a statement, the Bulgarian National Bank said that it has maintained active communication with all parties during the talks and would make all efforts to contribute to the quick finalisation of the deal.
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