Alpha Bank is a hot item
09. November 2007. | 14:06 18:22
ALPHA Bank is one of the "hottest" targets in Greece at present, which has been further fuelled by better than expected profit results.
UK's HSBC, Eurobank and National Bank are among those reportedly circling Alpha in order to acquire a significant stake. While Alpha is not in talks with either HSBC or a local bank, Alpha Bank chairman Yannis Costopoulos told the Athens News on October 29 that it could be open to an approach in the future. "There is a lot of talk - too much talk," he said, acknowledging persistent rumours. But the right offer would not fall on deaf ears. "Of course we would listen to an approach," he added. However, a source at the bank said that there had been some preliminary informal approaches from a number of players, including HSBC. "I can't say more as this is a hot period for the bank," he added. There have also been continued rumours that the old flirt with peer National Bank of Greece (NBG) is being rekindled, although Costopoulos rebuffed this. On the expansion front, Alpha sees Ukraine as the top priority for an acquisition, Costopoulos said. "We are keen to acquire in Ukraine and are looking at some opportunities there," he said, but declined to name targets. Asked if Egypt is also of interest for a buy, he replied, "It's a bit far away - let's settle Ukraine first." An insider at Alpha said that the bank was "looking closely at two or three" banks in Ukraine. "They are not difficult to guess because they are the same as our local com