Greece’s National Bank, ever closer to Banca Romaneasca selling

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Greece’s second-largest lender National Bank (NBG) will sell more assets in the Balkans, including its Romanian operations.

“We are very close to announcing the buyer for Banca Romaneasca,” CEO NBG Leonidas Fragiadakis told Reuters in an interview. “The sale will be concluded in the next few months, it will be capital-accretive and beneficial to liquidity.”

The buyer for the wholly-owned Romanian subsidiary, which has a network of about 110 branches, will also pay back a loan of EUR 550 million that Banca Romaneasca borrowed from NBG, giving a further liquidity boost.

Apart from Banca Romaneasca, Fragiadakis said NBG would sell smaller operations in Serbia, Albania and Cyprus as part of commitments agreed with regulators.

“More than 90 percent of our restructuring has been completed. These operations make up a very small part of the commitments in the plan,” he said, adding sales processes were underway.

Like other big Greek banks, NBG has been slimming down by divesting assets and foreign subsidiaries to focus on banking at home, with proceeds boosting capital ratios and liquidity.

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