GREECE: Vardinoyiannis wraps up ex-Laiki asset takeover for EUR 73.5 mln

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Ireon Investments, wholly-owned subsidiary of Athens-listed Motor Oil Hellas, the Vardinoyiannis-controlled group, has concluded the takeover of three Legacy Laiki assets in Greece at a cost of EUR 73.5 mln.

The sale of the three ex-Laiki subsidiaries – Investment Bank of Greece, CPB Asset Management A.E.D.A.K. and Laiki Factors & Forfeiters – was dubbed “Project Leopard” and had been jointly undertaken by the EY tax and advisory firms of Greece and Cyprus.

The tender competition announced in October 2018 by Laiki administrator Cleovoulos Alexandrou had selected Ireon Investments as the ‘preferred investor’.

“It is important that, during a time when banks are trying to return to sustainable growth, an important investment was made to create a new banking scheme, in the context of reorganising our banking system and enhancing the funding options of Greek businesses,” said Tassos Iosiphides, Partner and Head of Transaction Advisory Services at EY Greece and head of the project.

The jewel in the crown in the takeover is IBG, the investment and brokerage arm of the Greek entity that was created from the merger of Marfin Popular Bank and Marfin Egnatia Bank.

It will now be free of its ties to the Popular Laiki Bank that collapsed under the rise and fall of the late Andreas Vgenopoulos during the 2013 financial crisis in Cyprus.

Already, in its annual report for 2018, IBG said that it had entered a new era with new management and a target for new shareholders through its sale, aiming to achieve a turnaround.

As at December 2018, IBG’s balance sheet was EUR 208.3 mln, up from 180 mln the previous year, with client deposits and balances from brokerage trades up nearly 6% at EUR 77.6 mln.

Loans and credit facilities (margin accounts) were up 11% at EUR 39.4 mln.

Profits from financial services stood at EUR 3.7 mln, but after a write down of EUR 3.4 mln of mutual funds and increased operating expenses, after-tax losses rose from EUR 0.7 mln in 2017 to 3.9 mln in 2018.