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Banco Comercial Gains After Selling Greek Unit: Lisbon Mover

April 22 (Bloomberg) -- Banco Comercial Portugues SA, Portugal’s biggest non-state bank by assets, rose to the highest in a week and a half after saying it will sell its Greek unit to Piraeus Bank SA.

The shares gained 2 percent to 9.7 euro cents in Lisbon trading, the highest level since April 10, giving the firm a market value of 1.9 billion euros ($2.5 billion).

The sale of Millenium Bank Greece represents a “relevant improvement in the group’s risk profile as it reduces significantly the bank’s exposure to one of the most problematic economies in its business portfolio,” Carlos Peixoto, an analyst at Banco BPI in Porto, Portugal, said in an e-mailed report to clients today. It is also a “first step toward increasing visibility regarding BCP’s capacity to redeem” state aid by June 2017, he said.

Banco Comercial will sell Millenium Bank Greece for 1 million euros and also agreed to invest 400 million euros in Piraeus’s forthcoming capital increase as a condition of the sale, leading to a minority stake in Athens-based Piraeus, Millenium said in an e-mailed statement today. The transactions are expected to be completed in the second quarter, it said. Banco Comercial can’t sell its minority stake for six months.

Banco Comercial has booked a provision of 427 million euros for the potential losses in Millenium, according to the statement. The sale will allow Banco Comercial to “deconsolidate about 4 billion euros in risk-weighted assets” as of December, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anabela Reis in Lisbon at areis1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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