Piraeus Bank details equity offering plan

ATHENS, March 26 (Reuters) - Piraeus Bank, one of Greece’s four largest lenders, on Friday provided details on its plan to raise about 1.0 billion euros ($1.2 billion) through a share offering.

Earlier this month the bank, which is 61.3% owned by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), said its equity offering would reduce the stake held by Greece’s bank rescue fund to a minority shareholding without any blocking power.

Piraeus said it would ask shareholders at an extraordinary meeting on April 7 to grant approval to its board to proceed with a capital boost, which will not be a rights issue only for existing shareholders.

“There is no decision whatsoever regarding the capital increase as the bank’s board has not been granted approval yet by the shareholders assembly,” Piraeus said in a statement.

It said the offering, once approved, would be a combined international placement with institutional investors via bookbuilding and a domestic public offering that would take place simultaneously.

The issue price of the new shares will be determined in the bookbuilding and will be the same for institutional and domestic investors.

“The offering price of the shares is expected to be inside a pricing range that will be announced before the launch of the combined offering,” the bank said.

On the allocation of the new shares, Piraeus said it would try to satisfy demand from both institutional and domestic investors.

Management will recommend the adoption of a preferential treatment for shareholders on record at a date to be announced, who register for the offering in Greece, Piraeus said.

After the shareholders meeting on April 7, the bank’s board will decide on the terms of the combined offering around mid-April. The launch of the combined offering is expected in late April and the allocation of shares in the first 10 days of May. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos. Editing by Mark Potter)