Alpha Plans $1.2 Billion Debt Swap as Greek Banks Boost Capital

Alpha Bank AE announced plans for a 1.1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) bond swap, joining Piraeus Bank SA in seeking to pare debt and raise capital following the Greek economy’s near-collapse.

The lender intends to exchange outstanding bonds for cash or shares, it said in a Luxembourg stock exchange statement on Wednesday, which didn’t include the proposed terms. The offer covers 27 senior and subordinated securities denominated in euros and dollars.

Greek lenders are working to rebuild capital bases as the European Central Bank concludes stress tests that will determine how much the banks need to meet minimum regulatory requirements. As much as 25 billion euros from Greece’s latest bailout has been earmarked to backstop recapitalizations after banks suffered bad debts and deposit runs because of the nation’s economic slump.

Alpha Bank officials declined to comment beyond the statement. Wednesday is a national holiday in Greece.

Piraeus Bank said this month that it’s seeking to exchange almost 600 million euros of debt. Alpha Bank and Eurobank Ergasias SA discussed the possibility of pursuing bond swaps with a group of investors earlier this month, according to people familiar with the matter. National Bank of Greece SA, which also attended the meeting, may also consider a bond swap, the people said at the time.

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