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UPDATE 1-Alpha Bank plans $1 bln share issue to tap into stimulus projects | Reuters

Alpha Bank, one of Greece’s four largest lenders, plans to raise about 800 million euros ($975 million) in a sale of new shares to capitalise on lending opportunities at home as European Union recovery funds flow in, it said on Monday.

The bank said the sale would take place via a bookbuilding to international institutional investors and a public offering in Greece, targeting completion by mid-July.

Alpha Bank, about 11% owned by Greek bank rescue fund HFSF, said current shareholders’ preemptive rights to the offering would be cancelled, but priority would be given to existing shareholders.

The HFSF bank rescue fund will participate up to its current holding.

Alpha Bank sees investment-driven growth ahead and wants to be well positioned for that.

“Greece will shortly benefit from a once in a generation inflow of EU funds that will create a major boost to the economy,” CEO Vassilis Psaltis said in a statement.

He said Alpha Bank anticipated significant investment in clean energy, digitalisation, real estate, tourism and infrastructure. The capital boost will help it grow “as the leading bank partner to this transformation.”

Greece formally submitted its national recovery plan to the EU last month, hoping for a boost to economic growth of as much as seven percentage points over the next six years.

Under the multibillion-euro coronavirus recovery package agreed by EU leaders last year, Athens is to get 18.2 billion euros in grants and 13 billion euros in cheap loans over the coming years, equal to about 16% of its gross domestic product.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan will act as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners for the offering, with Citigroup the senior joint bookrunners and Barclays and Axia Ventures as joint bookrunners. $1 = 0.8202 euros Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Lefteris Papadimas. Editing by Mark Potter

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