Romania and Greece are the two largest economies in South-Eastern Europe, and EFG Eurobank Ergasias’ decision to increase its stake in Banc Post from 19,25% to 36,25% is a reflection not only of the Greek banking group’s growth strategy, but also of its confidence in Romania’s future within the wider European economy.
The above was stressed by Mr. Nicholas Nanopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of EFG Eurobank Ergasias At an event that took place on 13 February 2003 on the occasion of the latter’s acquisition of an additional bloc (17%) of Banc Post shares. The Romania State, previous owners of the shares, received $20 million for the sale. It is worth noting that EFG Eurobank Ergasias has an option to purchase an additional stake, currently owned by General Electric Capital Corp., thus raising its participation from 36,25% today to 45%. On the basis of today’s ownership structure, EFG Eurobank Ergasias together with Banco Portuguese de Investimento, which controls 17% of the share capital, have a majority, while another 30% is controlled by various Romanian Investments firms and another 8% by Banc Post employees. Banc Post is the third largest bank in Romania in terms of assets, with a network of 151 units, including 55 branches, and a wider presence through the 2,500 strong network of Romania Post, with which it has a commercial agreement. Banc Post is the largest issuer of credit cards in Romania, and enjoys a prominent presence in the retail sector including, for example, a 6.5% market share in consumer credit. EFG Eurobank Ergasias’ development strategy in the wider Balkan region comprises a stake Bulgarian Post Bank (with approximately 100 branches), for which there are growth plans similar to those of Romania’s Banc Post. At the same time, Eurobank is close to signing a final agreement for the purchase of a majority stake (67%)in Serbia’s Post Banka AD. Mr Nanopoulos in his speech during the event in Bucharest, also referred to the steadily developing economic relations between Greece and Romania, and to Greek businesses’ many direct investment initiatives in the Romanian economy .It is thus no coincidence that about 30 Greek businessmen who are, or plan to become, active in the Romanian market accepted EFG Eurobank Ergasias’s invitation to attend the Bucharest event. Mr. Nanopoulos explained the philosophy and strategy that will allow Banc Post to develop, and –following the introduction of new products and services –play a leading role in assisting the Romania economy’s integration with the advanced European economies. For her part, President and C.E.O. Mrs. Elena Petculescu highlighted the Bank’s rapid growth and noted that today it services over 2 million customers, as against 13,000 in 1992. Bank Post , she added , will maintain it’s customer-centred character, noting at the same time that the current period presents many challenges and opportunities which the Bank is in a position to exploit.
Also present at the event from EFG Eurobank Ergasias were the Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Xenophon Nickitas, the Deputy C.E.O. Mr. Byron Ballis, General Managers Mrs. Iasmin Rallis and Mr. Harry Kyrkos, Mr David Watson, Advisor to the Management, and Mr. Theodore Karakassis, Assistant General Manager, as well as high-ranking officers of the Bank and its subsidiaries, who met with officers of Banc Post to examine various specific issues.