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Piraeus Said to Be in Talks to Sell $1.8 Billion Property Loans


Piraeus Bank SA, Greece’s biggest bank, is preparing to sell one of the largest-ever portfolios of soured property loans in the country, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reported.

The bank hired UBS Group AG to advise on the sale, dubbed Project Amoeba, that involves debt with a face value of as much as 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion), said the people, who asked not to be named because the plan is private. The lender is reaching out to international investors, asking them to sign non-disclosure agreements ahead of preliminary bids, they said.

Spokesmen for Piraeus and UBS declined to comment on the potential portfolio sale.

The central bank is due to determine by June whether the four systemic lenders will need fresh capital before the end of the country’s bailout program. Piraeus aims to cut non-performing exposure to less than 20 billion euros by the end of 2020 from 32.6 billion euros in June
through a mix of sales, write-offs, restructurings, collections, and liquidations, it said in a presentation this month. Piraeus also plans a 500 million-euro covered bond next month, its first ever, the company said in a statement earlier on Friday. The notes will help to finance small- and medium-size firms in Greece.

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