The Athens General Stock Exchange was up 15% on Monday, a reaction to the news of the Greek bank merger. Two of the country’s largest banks, Alphabank and Eurobank, are merging to create Greece’s largest bank, giving a boost to regional European exchange traded funds.
The iShares MSCI EMU Index Fund (NYSEArca: EZU) invests about 1.18% of assets into Greece, and rose 2.7% as of Monday. France, Germany, Spain and Italy are top allocations within the portfolio. Likewise, the Vanguard European ETF (NYSEArca: VGK) was up 2.7% on the news of the merger, however, Greece only accounts for 0.6% of the portfolio at this time. The UK , France and Germany take the top spots. [European regional ETFs Wither in Debt Turmoil]
The goal of the merger is to address the woes plaguing the Greek financial sector.
“I am confident that the new combined entity will act as an important agent for the economic development of the country,” Eurobank Chairman Efthymios Christodoulou told WSJ. “It is also well placed not only to withstand the current economic turbulence, but to create new opportunities and play a pivotal role in the future growth of the region.” [Europe ETFs Revive on News of Greek Bailout Plans]
Eurobank shareholders will receive 5 new Alphabank ordinary shares for every 7 of their own shares. Analysts report that Eurobank will be paying 27.5% premium for Alpha Bank shares although Alpha will be absorbing Eurobank under Greek merger law, reports Alkman Granitsas and Stelios Bouras for The WSJ.
Qatar will back the bank, and will control about 17% of the merged entity, becoming the largest shareholder of the bank.
Although the Athens General Stock Exchange was up on the news, the benchmark index is still down 28% year-to-date, reports Bespoke Investment.
Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.
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