Shearman & Sterling is advising Greece’s Eurobank Ergasias (“Eurobank”) on the acquisition of Alpha Bank’s Branch in Bulgaria (“Alpha Bank Bulgaria”) by Eurobank Bulgaria (“Postbank”), its subsidiary in Bulgaria (“Transaction”). The parties have reached a preliminary agreement on the Transaction. The Transaction is expected to close by the end of 2015 and is subject to execution of final transaction documentation as well as customary conditions and the necessary approvals by authorities. This is the first consolidation of its kind in the Balkan market. Shearman & Sterling is acting as transaction counsel to Eurobank.
The Transaction has a volume of approximately €664 million and covers the entire banking operations of Alpha Bank Bulgaria, which consist of deposits worth €254m and gross loans worth €410m, as well as a network of 83 retail branches in the country. The acquisition is fully aligned with the restructuring plans for Alpha Bank and Eurobank, as approved by the European Commission in 2014. The commission specifies, among other things, that each bank should focus its operations on core markets only. 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.
With the acquisition, Postbank is expected to strengthen its market position in the Bulgarian banking sector and expand its customer base in both the retail and corporate business banking segments. Following the completion, it will become the fourth-largest bank in Bulgaria ranked by deposits and loans, as well as a network of more than 200 locations through the whole country.
This acquisition underscores Shearman & Sterling’s commitment to its clients in Greece - the firm has represented the issuers or the underwriters in most of the international and cross-border equity and debt offerings by Greek issuers.
The Shearman & Sterling team was led by partner Apostolos Gkoutzinis (London-Capital Markets) and included counsel Kolja Stehl (London/Frankfurt-Financial Institutions Advisory & Financial Regulatory) and Mathias Stöcker (Frankfurt-Antitrust). Associates Nicholas Withers (London-Mergers & Acquisitions) and Hartmut Häselbarth (Frankfurt-Public Commercial Law) advised on the transaction with trainee Theodora Dimitrova (London-Mergers & Acquisitions).