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Piraeus Bank Rises on Report of Millennium Talks: Athens Mover

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Piraeus Bank SA, Greece’s fourth-biggest bank by market value, rose the most in nearly two weeks after a report that it was in talks to buy Banco Comercial Portugues’s Greek unit.

Piraeus advanced 5.7 percent to 29 euro cents at 5:15 p.m. in Athens after gaining as much as 6.5 percent. The share rise today was the biggest since an 8.2 percent advance on Jan. 23.

Piraeus is in talks with Banco Comercial to buy Millennium Bank, the Portuguese lender’s Greek unit, which would reduce its recapitalization needs by 250 million euros ($338 million), Naftemporiki reported today, without saying how it got the information.

A Piraeus bank spokesman declined to comment on the report. Erik Burns, a spokesman for Banco Comercial Portugues in Lisbon, said he had no comment.

Piraeus last year bought the “healthy” portion of state-controlled Agricultural Bank of Greece SA, and Geniki SA, Societe Generale SA’s Greek unit in an overhaul of the banking sector sparked by bank losses after the restructuring of Greece’s debt. The country’s four biggest banks need to raise 27.5 billion euros in fresh capital under the terms of Greece’s bailouts.

Separately, National Bank of Greece SA, Greece’s biggest bank, rose 1 percent, while Alpha Bank SA added 2.3 percent and Eurobank Ergasias SA gained 1 percent. Imerisia reported that Greece is considering creating a “bad bank” that would buy non-performing loans from commercial banks at as much as 50 percent of the value of loan collateral.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marcus Bensasson in Athens at mbensasson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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