Piraeus Bank Said to Sell Stake in Athens Water to Paulson

Piraeus Bank SA sold its 9.9 percent stake in Athens Water Supply & Sewage Co. to Paulson & Co. for 86.3 million euros ($120 million), according to a Piraeus Bank official who asked not to be identified in line with policy.

Athens Water, Greece’s biggest water utility with a 1.06 billion-euro market value, is 61 percent state-owned, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The government said in its last fiscal plan it will sell the company next year to help meet a 2.2 billion-euro revenue target from state asset sales in 2015.

A spokesman for Paulson & Co. declined to comment. Piraeus, the country’s second-largest bank by assets, acquired its stake in Athens Water, the second-biggest holding in the company, when it bought part of Agricultural Bank of Greece in 2012.

Athens Water shares surged 7 percent to 9.95 euros today, the biggest one-day advance by the utility since Sept. 2. That topped a 0.7 percent rise for the Athens Stock Exchange general benchmark index. Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage Co. is Greece’s second-biggest water utility.