EBRD and Intrum invest in Piraeus Bank’s NPE portfolio in Greece

By Olga Aristeidou

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Strengthening the resilience of the Greek banking sector

  • EBRD and Intrum jointly invest in an NPE portfolio originated by Piraeus Bank
  • Investment will support the resilience of the Greek banking sector
  • EBRD’s third investment in an NPE portfolio in Greece

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Intrum Holding AB are jointly investing in an unsecured non-performing exposure (NPE) portfolio originated by Piraeus Bank, one of the leading banking groups in Greece. The EBRD’s investment is around €11 million. The portfolio consists of approximately 53,000 loans with total legal claims of about €1.7 billion and a gross book value of €0.7 billion.

The portfolio was acquired through a special purpose company, Iris Hellas Investments Designated Activity Company (DAC), while management of the portfolio was assigned to Intrum Hellas. The EBRD’s co-investor, Intrum, is the leading European provider of collection and credit management and real estate services to the banking industry, with a local presence in 24 countries and approximately 10,000 employees across Europe.

Andreea Moraru, EBRD Head of Greece and Cyprus, said: “The Covid‐19 pandemic and its economic consequences present an unprecedented challenge to the global and Greek economy with a rising risk of a new wave of NPE formation. The EBRD is committed to accelerating investments essential to strengthening the resilience of the Greek financial sector. In cooperation with the Intrum Group, we are pleased to support Piraeus Bank in meeting its NPE reduction targets and freeing up capacity for new lending.”

Akis Bis, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Intrum Investments Greece, stated: “Despite the adverse conditions in the international and domestic markets, our portfolio investment plan in Greece is evolving smoothly and according to our plans. Following completion of the acquisition process for the IRIS portfolio, in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and further to the acquisition of the Aeolus portfolio in 2020, we reaffirm our commitment to a long-term investment horizon in Greece, which is a strategic market for the Intrum Group”.

The transaction is the third sub-project under the EBRD’s NPL Resolution Framework that involves the purchase of an NPE portfolio in Greece. The Bank launched the €300 million framework in 2017 to support efforts to resolve the persisting issue of high levels of NPEs in many of the economies where it invests.

As of September 2020, NPEs in Greece stood at €63.5 billion, representing 35.3 per cent of total exposures, according to data by the Bank of Greece. The new transaction will further support the stability of the Greek banking sector, helping to reduce the current number of total exposures by Greek banks in line with the reduction targets agreed with the supervisory authorities.

The EBRD started investing in Greece on a temporary basis in 2015 to support the country’s economic recovery. To date, the Bank has invested more than €4 billion in around 70 projects in the corporate, financial, energy and infrastructure sectors of the Greek economy.

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