Megalou plans a new era of growth at Piraeus Bank
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Megalou plans a new era of growth at Piraeus Bank


The Greek bailout fund’s exit from Piraeus Bank last month was the country’s biggest post-crisis privatization. The bank’s chief executive, Christos Megalou, tells Euromoney that this is more than a capital-return story. It’s also about growth: in the economy, in wealth and asset management, and, thanks to neobank Snappi, internationally.

When Piraeus Bank’s board offered Christos Megalou the chief executive’s role in 2017, his wife and children dreaded what would come of it. But when the dual British and Greek citizen met Euromoney in London in March – returning to a city where he lived for more than 15 years and where his two daughters now work – he clearly felt justified about his decision to take the job.

Greece’s bailout vehicle, the Hellenic Financial Stabilization Fund (HFSF), sold its entire 27% stake in Piraeus in a €1.35 billion in early March. The fully marketed equity offering was several times oversubscribed and at a premium to the undisturbed price.

It is not the only systemic Greek bank to have returned to full private ownership recently, with HFSF sell-downs in Alphabank and Eurobank last autumn. By the time of the sell-down, Piraeus Bank was still trading at only about 0.7 times book value, compared with the wider European and eurozone banking sector at around 0.9x book. But Piraeus’ transaction is the most significant of the state’s sales because the bank’s size and the extent of its earlier troubles, which demanded larger injections of HFSF funds.

Moreover, the bank’s €5 billion market capitalization at the time of the sell-down was more than three-and-a-half times bigger than at its last €1.4


Dominic O'Neill head.jpg
EMEA editor
Dominic O’Neill is EMEA editor. He joined Euromoney in 2007 to cover emerging markets, focusing on central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and later on Latin America. Based in London, he has covered developed market banking since 2015.
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