Karatzas & Partners has advised Bain Capital on the acquisition of a secured corporate NPE portfolio from Piraeus Bank equivalent to EUR 1.95 million of legal claims or EUR 1.45 million gross book value. Piraeus Bank was advised by Zepos & Yannopoulos.
On May 29, 2018, Piraeus Bank S.A. announced that it had entered into an agreement with Bain Capital Credit LP regarding the sale of non-performing and denounced corporate credit exposures, secured with real estate collateral, also known as “Project Amoeba.”
According to Zepos & Yannopoulos, "this pioneer transaction marks the long awaited opening of the secured NPE market in Greece following a series of legislative initiatives and regulatory NPE reduction targets in the last few years aiming to establish a liquid market for the nearly EUR 100 billion of NPEs of the Greek banks."
Partner at Zepos & Yannopoulos Christina Papanikolopoulou commented: “The Amoeba deal attests the Greek banks’ commitment to actively deleverage their balance sheets, as well as international investors’ interest to invest in Greek NPEs. The team worked very hard to propose and implement a seamless legal structure that would be familiar to the international investor community and which would serve as a robust and flexible toolbox for future transactions. Moreover, the number of investors that took an interest in the transaction went far beyond what would be expected in a first-time NPE deal, which is a very positive sign for the coming Greek NPE sales.”
The completion of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory and other approvals by the relevant authorities in Greece such as the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund.
According to Karatzas & Partners, the transaction "is the first commercial real-estate backed NPE sale taking place in Greece and is predestined to set the mark for future similar transactions in the secured corporate loans space."
Karatzas & Partners advised Bain Capital on all Greek law aspects of the structuring and implementation of the transaction. The firm's team was led by Partner Nikos Fragos and included Partner Vassiliki Salaka, Senior Associate Katerina Dalamara, and Associates Eva Petroglu, Zefi Kosmidou, and Argyro Vagia.
The Zepos & Yannopoulos team was led by Partner Christina Papanikolopoulou, assisted by Senior Associate Kely Pesketzi and Associates Mary Nigritinou, Athina Palli, and Paris Tzoumas. Tax advice was provided by Partner Daphne Cozonis and Senior Associate Katerina Vagia. Partners Nikos Christoforidis and Emmanuel Mastromanolis assisted with enforcement and insolvency laws, respectively.
Editor's Note: After this article was published Shearman & Sterling announced that it had worked alongside Zepos & Yannopoulos in advising Piraeus Bank on the transaction and that Kirkland & Ellis and Andreas Angelidis & Associates had worked alongside Karatzas & Partners in advising Bain.