Alpha Bank is close to taking over the Greek subsidiary Emporiki Bank of the French group Credit Agricole, according to sources quoted by the Greek daily Imerisia, as reported by Kathimerini. An agreement will be signed in mid-September, after finalising the terms of the recapitalisation of the Greek banking sector, according to Mediafax. The new bank resulting from the takeover will have the backing of Qatar’s Paramount fund, the publication notes, without detailing in what form, and Credit Agricole will retain a stake.

Credit Agricole has recently been trying to reduce its €4.6 billion exposure to Emporiki, following fears that a Greek exit from the eurozone would trigger massive downward asset revaluations and force a capital increase.

Emporiki has previously confirmed that it is in preliminary talks with Greek banks and regulators. National Bank of Greece, Greece’s largest bank, announced in early July that it was in talks with Credit Agricole for Emporiki.

The French group decided in June to transfer all Emporiki Bank subsidiaries in the Balkans, including the one in Romania, to Credit Agricole. The National Bank of Romania has agreed to the purchase of the shares of Emporiki Bank’s Romanian subsidiary by Credit Agricole, and the name of the credit institution will be changed in August to Credit Agricole Bank Romania.

Last week, the Greek bank Piraeus took over, through absorption, the viable assets of Greek state-controlled ATEbank, including the ATEbank Romania branch, the transaction being part of the financial restructuring and consolidation process of the Greek banking system. Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank are also present in Romania.

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