Eurobank Shareholders Accept National Bank’s Acquisition Offer

National Bank of Greece SA received the backing of a majority of Eurobank Ergasias SA’s shareholders for its buyout offer, clearing the last hurdle for a deal which will allow it to remain Greece’s biggest bank.

A total of 84 percent of Eurobank shareholders accepted National Bank’s offer, according to an Athens bourse filing today. The offer period ended on Feb. 15. National Bank, the country’s largest lender with a market value of 951 million ($1.27 billion euros), in October offered 58 new shares for each 100 shares of Eurobank. Eurobank has a market value of 250 million euros.

Greece’s banks are undergoing an overhaul sparked by losses from the country’s sovereign debt restructuring last year, the biggest in history, and surging non-performing loans. The country obtained a 130 billion-euro second bailout in March from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund that earmarked 50 billion euros for recapitalizing the banks.

“This strategic move sets the necessary foundations to achieve the bank’s adequate and fast recapitalization,” National Bank Chief Executive Officer Alexandros Tourkolias said in an e-mailed statement. The merger will boost liquidity and help contain operating costs and provisions, making the group able to successfully deal with challenges facing the Greek financial system, he said.

The new entity, to be called NBG Group, will have 178 billion euros in assets, 110 billion euros in loans and 87.9 billion euros in deposits, National Bank said in October.

With the economy set to contract for a sixth straight year and concern lingering over the country’s ability to implement measures agreed to in exchange for bailout funds, domestic banks have been joining forces and overseas banks have been seeking to exit the country. Piraeus Bank acquired Agricultural Bank of Greece SA as well as Societe Generale SA’s Greek unit Geniki Bank, and Alpha Bank bought Emporiki Bank from Credit Agricole SA.