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Credit Agricole paves way for Greek purchase with higher offer for bank

France's largest bank by assets, Credit Agricole, has increased its takeover bid for Greek player Emporiki to E3.3 billion.

Credit Agricole made an initial offer of E23.5 per share, but this has now gone up to E25 per share in a bid to curry favor with the Greek government, which holds shares and pensions rights equating to about 40% of Emporiki.

Sources in Athens say that the government is more likely to accept Credit Agricole’s higher bid, as it would be seen as a greater vote of confidence in the expanding Greek economy.

The French bank is seeking to expand beyond its mature home market, and Greece is sure to be an attractive target market, as growth in lending is twice the rate in most of the rest of the Eurozone.

Last month the French bank dropped plans to bid for the UK lender Alliance & Leicester.