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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-13

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Credit Agricole says bid for Emporiki a vote of confidence for Greek economy
  • [02] FM Bakoyannis briefs Inner Cabinet
  • [03] Govt announces programme to subsidise loans to SMEs
  • [04] Valynakis hails Albania-EU association agreement

  • [01] Credit Agricole says bid for Emporiki a vote of confidence for Greek economy

    Paris-based Cr?dit Agricole on Tuesday submitted a bid for the purchase of Emporiki Bank at 23.5 euros per share, or 3.1 billion euros for acquiring the Greek bank.

    The French bank, a strategic partner of Emporiki Bank, said a Cr?dit Agricole's board meeting -- chaired by Cr?dit Agricole group chairman Rene Carron -- on Friday unanimously voted in favour of the public bid to buy 100 percent in Emporiki Bank.

    The price offered by Cr?dit Agricole is 0.3-pct higher than Emporiki Bank's closing share price on Friday, June 9 (23.44 euros), 0.6 percent higher compared with the weekly average market price of 23.36 euros, and 17.9 pct higher compared with the average price from Jan. 1, 2004. The price is 50 percent higher from the current P/E ratio of the four largest Greek banks for the period 2006-2007.

    Cr?dit Agricole's bid to buy Emporiki is a vote of confidence for the Greek economy's prospects and the country's banking system, Gilles de Margerie and Jean Frederic de Leusse, Cr?dit Agricole's representatives, said on Tuesday.

    Cr?dit Agricole said its bid would be the largest foreign investment in Greece. The acceptance period for the bid will last from the end of June to early August 2006, with more information expected after the approval of an information bulletin by the bank.

    "The bid is a friendly approach; the transaction will be made in cash and covers all of Emporiki Bank's shareholders. It will be the largest foreign investment in Greece and clearly reflects our trust in the Greek market and its prospects," Carron said, adding: "Additionally, this transaction is fully compatible with our international expansion strategy, announced in December 2005, and fulfils all criteria set for our acquisitions. As a strategic shareholder in Emporiki Bank since 2000 we look forward to continuing our partnership with the aim to further enhance and expand Emporiki Bank's activities."

    On his part, Georges Pauget, Cr?dit Agricole's chief executive, said:

    "By combining Emporiki Bank's existing capabilities and Cr?dit Agricole's know-how in various business activities, will have the opportunity to develop a more productive Greek bank, focused on domestic and neighbouring markets with the support of one of the largest international financial groups. We believe we can create added value for Emporiki's customers and boost the bank's competitiveness to higher levels".

    Alogoskoufis

    On his part, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said a public bid by Cr?dit Agricole to buy Emporiki Bank was a positive development.

    Speaking to reporters after an Inner Cabinet Meeting, Alogoskoufis said a full privatisation of Emporiki Bank was a priority for the government as it ensured transparency and strengthened the country's financial system. He added that the government will seriously examine Cr?dit Agricole's bid as any other bid as well as any other bid that will be submitted.

    The minister reiterated that the government has accelerated procedures for the privatisation of Emporiki Bank, although it will carefully respond to the French bank's bid.

    Bid of confidence

    Cr?dit Agricole's bid to buy Emporiki is a vote of confidence for the Greek economy's prospects and the country's banking system, Gilles de Margerie and Jean Frederic de Leusse, Cr?dit Agricole's representatives, said on Tuesday.

    Presenting the French bank's bid -- Cr?dit Agricole already has a 9.0-percent equity stake in Emporiki -- the two bankers said the Greek economy's high growth rates - more than double the Eurozone's average - would continue in the next years, while they also noted the significant growth prospects of the domestic banking system. The two French banking executives stressed that the Greek credit market grew by 21 percent in 2005, compared with a 9.0 percent Eurozone average; the domestic mortgage market grew by 33 percent (from 11 pct in the Eurozone) and the consumer credit market grew 28 percent (7.0 pct in the Eurozone).

    training programmes.

    [02] FM Bakoyannis briefs Inner Cabinet

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Tuesday briefed the Inner Cabinet on the EU General Affairs Council meeting results and the confidence-building-measures agreed in Istanbul with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.

    Bakoyannis believes that the EU intention is to firmly observe its principles regarding enlargement issues.

    Speaking to reporters, Bakoyannis denied that there was a problem with Nicosia and underlined that there is complete information and consultation.

    Greece, underlined Bakoyannis, has a specific strategy that it was following unwaveringly.

    [03] Govt announces programme to subsidise loans to SMEs

    Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Tuesday announced a government programme, worth 20 million euros, to subsidise interest rates on loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises as part of a programme to offer support to 2,500 enterprises.

    Under the plan, the government will subsidise loans to SMEs by four percentage points and will cover investments to modernise or expand existing and new enterprises. The programme excludes loans for enterprises in the fishing, agriculture and transport sectors. It cover enterprises which employ up to 20 workers, with a turnover of 10 million euros and loans up to 400,000 euros.

    Presenting the programme, the Greek minister said small- and medium-sized enterprises created seven out of 10 new job positions in the country and stressed that only 20 pct of SMEs had permanent cooperation relations with the country's banking system (down from 40 percent the EU average).

    [04] Valynakis hails Albania-EU association agreement

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis on Tuesday hailed with "particular satisfaction" the Stabilisation and Association agreement signed on Monday between Albania and the European Union and reiterated in a statement that Greece's strategic target is the turning of southeastern Europe into a neighbourhood of security, prosperity and cooperation.

    "The European Union is giving Albania a great opportunity. We hail wih particular satisfaction the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and of the Interim Agreement which is the first step in the European course of Albania. We wish its government and its people will continue this steadfast course which took our neighbouring country out of isolation and backwardness. As of today, Albania now assumes specific commitments towards the EU. It is up to her to meet them and to intensify its efforts so as to fulfill all the conditions and prerequisites set by the EU," he said.

    Focusing on some of the prerequisites, the deputy foreign minister said "the combatting of corruption and organised crime, respect and protection for minorities and ensuring that the upcoming municipal elections will be fully aligned with international standards this time are priority issues for the EU to which we hope that Albania will respond in full. In this framework, we also consider it to be self-evident that issues of a humanitarian nature must be handled in the spirit of the 21st century and not with conceptions of the past."


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