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European Commission clears Alpha Bank’s restructuring plan

BBR Staff Writer Published 10 July 2014

The European Commission has cleared the proposed restructuring of Greece's Alpha Bank through further downsizing of international operations and a reinforcement of local operations.

Alpha Bank has repeatedly been bailed out by the Greek authorities and the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) since 2008, prompting the European Commission to open an investigation in July 2012.

The commission found that the measures already implemented and those envisaged in the future will enable the lender to return to viability, while limiting the distortions of competition brought about by the state funding.

European Commission competition policy vice president in charge Joaquín Almunia said: "Alpha Bank's restructuring will make a significant contribution to reinforcing the viability of the Greek banking sector, to the benefit of the Greek economy."

Under the restructuring plan, the bank is rationalising its operating expenses, in addition to reinforcing the net interest income, strengthening the balance sheet and a strict risk monitoring.

Monitored by a trustee, the commitments are expected to help turn the company into a solid and viable bank that can significantly contribute to the sustainable financing of the Greek economy.

In addition, the watchdog approved Alpha's acquisition and integration of Emporiki Bank.