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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-01-12

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Marfin Popular Bank (MPB) has announced its decision to make a public offer to buy the Bank of Cyprus, 10 percent of which is owned by Greek Piraeus Bank.

    ``Marfin Popular Bank Public Co Ltd announces its decision to make a public offer to the shareholders of the Bank of Cyprus to acquire up to 100 percent and at least 35 percent of its issued share capital,`` Marfin said in an announcement this morning.

    MPB emerged after Novembers merger between Cyprus Laiki Bank and Greek Marfin Financial Services and Egnatia Bank, creating a new financial organization, the biggest financial organization in Cyprus and the second largest in Greece.

    Marfin said it offers 1.241 of its own shares for each Bank of Cyprus share, seeking to buy a minimum of 35 percent stake in Cyprus` largest lender, about 10 percent owned by Greek Piraeus Bank.

    MPB said earlier it would make a public offer to buy rival Piraeus Bank as well, a day after Piraeus launched a bid for Marfin Popular.

    The exact terms of its offer for Piraeus Bank have not been made public yet.

    Late on Thursday Piraeus launched a tender to buy 40 to 100 percent of Marfin Popular, in what market analysts said was a defensive move to block an imminent bid by Marfin for Piraeus and the Bank of Cyprus.

    MPB said Piraeus Bank`s move to obstruct its bid should not be successful.

    ``The effort of Piraeus Bank`s management to obstruct or guide the judgement of shareholders and the market cannot be successful,`` MPB said in a statement, adding that Piraeus` offer ``was issued without having previously informed nor obtained the necessary approval by the relevant regulatory authorities``.

    But Piraeus Bank said that the decision of its Board of Directors to make an official and binding public offer to the shareholders of MPB had been announced already yesterday in writing to the competent authorities, following the necessary procedures.

    Meanwhile, the Stock Exchanges of Cyprus and Athens temporarily suspended today trading in shares of Piraeus Bank, Marfin Popular Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Egnatia Bank and Marfin Financial Group.

    Commenting on the developments, Cypriot Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris said that the Cypriot economy can protect itself from any problems that may occur as a result of these developments.

    The government, he said, is monitoring developments and it will look into the issue with the necessary seriousness and objectivity.

    I believe that Cyprus financial scene will change to a great extent. What interests us is that competition is not limited, he concluded.


    The government of Cyprus is not aware of any change of policy on behalf of the United Nations regarding the Cyprus question, said Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas.

    The Minister was invited to comment on a statement made by US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack that the UN have taken another look at the Cyprus issue and they may consider what it is that they might do``.

    Officially, we have the agreement of the 8th of July. Our efforts now focus on achieving the necessary progress so that working groups and technical committees will be established in order to begin discussions, aiming to prepare the ground for a new initiative for a comprehensive settlement, he said.

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