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16 January, 2002
The managements of National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank issued a joint statement on Tuesday to inform investors in the Athens Stock Exchange over the procedure of their merger plan.
"As in any big venture a merger between two equal large banks face difficulties in various fields. We are trying to deal with these difficulties with a spirit of understanding and good faith. Our aim continues to be to create a strong Greek bank with a European structure that will operate under the financial criteria of a modern banking market. This is for the interests of the national economy, our shareholders and employees in both banks," the statement said.
The merger plan between the two banks was in the brink of collapse Monday evening because of wrangling between executives over the distribution of responsibilities under the single form.
National Bank of Greece governor, Theodore Karatzas, met with Alpha Bank's chairman, Yiannis Costopoulos, Tuesday morning in an effort to save the plan.
The two banks announced a merger plan in November 1 last year to create a powerful Greek bank that would become a leader in the region's banking market.
Spokesman: Gov't not intervening in bank merger talks:
Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Tuesday said the government was keeping its distance from ongoing developments in a planned merger between National Bank and Alpha Bank.
Protopapas said the government was informed of recent developments while it hopes for a positive conclusion. However, he repeated that the government was not intervening nor does it plan to intervene in negotiations between the two banks.
The spokesman added that Prime Minister Costas Simitis has had telephone contacts with the two banks' heads.
Protopapas said the premier was briefed over developments from the two banks' governors, who asked to speak with him.
Government officials, however, said they would prefer, in the current phase, to leave the matter in the hands of National Bank's Theodore Karatzas, and Alpha Bank chairman Yiannis Costopoulos, hoping that the two could come up with better solutions.
Source: Athens News Agency