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24 September, 1998
Commercial Bank of Greece hopes to privatise Ionian Bank, its subsidiary, in four months using a sale consultant and a phased process to set a market price for the bank.
State Commercial Bank governor Konstandinos Georgoutsakos told a news conference yesterday that JP Morgan, an international investment house, would act as consultant in Ionian's 51 percent sale.
The three-step privatisation plan would be delayed if JP Morgan recommended a slow-down due to any turmoil in domestic or world markets, Mr. Georgoutsakos said.
The plan follows a recent abortive tender for the bank on the Athens Stock Exchange in the wake of a long-term strike by workers. No consultant was used in the sale.
In the latest plan's first phase, JP Morgan will prepare a sale prospectus after a detailed investigation of Ionian's finances and legal status carried out with an international auditor and law office.
In the second phase, the consultant will approach potential buyers in Greece and abroad, requesting indicative, non-binding bids.
And in the third phase, JP Morgan will ask a small number of interested investors to submit final bids, then negotiating with each in turn in order to secure the highest price for Ionian's stock.
The new sale process would separate Ionian's buyout price from its stock market value, an entanglement that helped to scotch the first attempted sale, and ensure transparency, Mr. Georgoutsakos said.
Source: Athens News Agency