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Banks rush to sell Greek assets

Crédit Agricole and Société Générale are in talks to get rid of their loss-making Greek subsidiaries

CREDIT Agricole and Société Générale are reported to be hurrying to sell off their loss-making assets in Greece.

The banks both own Greek subsidiaries and are said to be racing to get rid of them to stem a haemorrhage of money – plus potential disaster if Greece leaves the euro zone.

Crédit Agricole is hoping to find a taker for Emporiki in “a few weeks”, its boss, Jean-Paul Chifflet, told Le Monde.

It is estimated to have cost the Crédit Agricole about €10billion since it was bought in 2006 at a time when the Greek economy was flourishing. This is largely responsible for the French bank’s share value having lost two-thirds in three years.

It is in discussion with three Greek banks and says there are still “several possible solutions” as to a final deal.

Société Générale meanwhile is in talks to sell Geniki to the Bank of Piraeus.

Greek financial news site says the deal is expected to include the French bank injecting €350m of capital, but it would keep a 10% stake.

While the problems faced by the two French banks are similar, Crédit Agricole has more at risk. Since 2007 Geniki has suffered losses of €600m – Emporiki, some €7bn. The activity of the two banks is also very different, for example Geniki has loaned about €2bn at present, Emporiki €22bn.

Photo:Steve Swayne

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