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Greece's National Bank finalizes swap to create nation's 'largest banking group'

ATHENS--Greek lender National Bank (NBG) on Monday said it had completed a buyout offer for rival Eurobank to create “the country's largest bank group.”

Over 64,000 Eurobank shareholders had agreed to swap their shares, enabling NBG to garner about 84 percent of the smaller bank's stock, NBG said.

“National Bank and Eurobank are uniting their forces to create the country's largest bank group which will be able to successfully meet the challenges to Greece's monetary and credit system,” NBG's chief operating officer Alexandros Tourkolias said in a statement.

The Greek capital market commission had approved the merger on Jan. 10 and the new group's shares are expected to begin trading on Feb. 27, NBG said.

Eurobank in December reported a net loss of 1.095 billion euros (US$1.48 billion) over the first nine months of 2012, after writing off six billion euros for its participation in the Greek sovereign bailout.

NBG had posted a net loss of 2.45 billion euros over the same period.

Under the country's EU-IMF rescue agreement, Greek banks are to receive 50 billion euros overall to restore their capital after a sovereign debt write-down last spring and a subsequent debt buy-back.

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