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Greek Banks Turn East

National Bank of Greece
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Latest developments in the banking sector point to major Greek Banks’ strategic ties with the Arab world. Greece’s largest Bank, the National Bank of Greece has declared its interest to expand its activities in the fast-growing Egyptian market, where it currently maintains one branch. Egypt’s third-largest bank, Banque du Caire, recently rejected a National Bank offer worth $2.025 billion. However, the Greek bidder remains firm in its decision to boost its presence in fast-growing Arab nation, while its CEO, Takis Arapoglou says that “the bank’s future lies abroad”.
Alpha Bank
Meanwhile, Greece’s third-largest bank, Alpha Bank announced the acquisition of the bank’s 4% of its treasury stock by Qatari investors. The Bank sold its 4% stake for €296 million to Paramount Services Holding Limited, a company of Qatari interests. Alpha Bank’s new shareholder is believed to leverage the bank’s establishment in the fast-growing Eastern Mediterranean region where the bank’s presence is limited yet promising.  Alpha Bank: Alpha Bank announces the sale of a 4% stake to Qatari private investors  Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece, Greek Banking Sector: Expanding into the South Eastern European region

Greek Tourism Prospects

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     An Alpha Bank report published 7 May suggested that Greek tourism requires a long-term strategy that will be based on reducing labour costs and creating new destinations. It must be noted, however, that the initial signs are very encouraging this year: in the first two months of 2008, revenues from tourism posted a 14.6% year-on-year rise, from a 0.7% annual decline in 2007, the bank reports. In another report, the ICAP Group research company finds that the government’s new national strategy for tourism can be summarised as the modernisation of the product, the upgrade of tourism-saturated areas and the systematic promotion of the country around the world. The report says that Crete came first in the capacity of beds in Greece in 2006 (21%), followed by the Dodecanese (17%) and Macedonia (14%). The National Statistics Service data showed that approximately 17.3 million tourists arrived in Greece in 2006, while tourism revenues reached €11.237 billion that year. Three–quarters of the 57.8 million overnight stays were made by foreigners. Continue reading

Greek Banking business / Eurobank in Ukraine

» Greek Banks in the Balkans

Greek banks – despite their small size compared to European financial giants – have managed to develop a network of 3,000 branches, while their market share in the Balkans is approaching 20%. In fact, in certain markets, such as that of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Greek banks’ share totals 35%. The momentum of the sector is obvious in the case of Serbia. Due to political turbulence in the country, Greek banks had delayed their market penetration. Yet within just two years, they have reversed that situation entirely, and five Serb bank acquisitions by Greek banks have been recorded in the 2004-2007 period. The next major step for Greek banks is in Ukraine. Pireus Bank has made an important move by acquiring International Commerce Bank (ICB), which has a network of 133 branches. Also present in Ukraine is EFG Eurobank, the first Greek banking institution to enter the Ukrainian market by buying out Universal Bank. Alpha and National Bank are also on the lookout for an acquisition target in that country.   Kathimerini daily: Greek banks hit gold in Balkans; The Bridge Magazine: Globalization and profits in the Balkans  Continue reading