[ATHENS] Eurobank will buy the loss-making Bulgarian branch network of fellow Greek lender Alpha Bank for the nominal sum of 1 euro and the boards of both banks will meet on Friday to finalise the deal, two banking sources told Reuters.
Greek banks, which have been closed for weeks as the near-bankrupt country negotiates a bailout deal with international creditors, face liquidity problems and are bracing for a deep overhaul including closures or mergers.
As part of an earlier bailout agreement, Greek lenders committed to restructuring their operations, selling off assets held in the Balkans and focusing on their domestic market.
More than a fifth of Bulgaria's banking assets are owned by Greek lenders.
"The buyout will take place at the nominal value of 1 euro,"a Eurobank official and a banker with immediate knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
"The boards of the two banks will meet later in the afternoon to finalise the deal," the official said.
Eurobank runs a subsidiary in Bulgaria known as Postbank, while Alpha bank runs a network of branches there that are controlled from Athens.
Eurobank Bulgaria had assets worth 5.9 billion levs at the end of March and posted a first quarter net profit of 20.8 million levs.
REUTERSRead more on the Greek crisis here