ATHENS – JPMorgan upgraded Piraeus Bank to ‘overweight’ and stated it was optimistic on Greece’s four big banks as published by Reuters, through a research report published on September 13.
In the past three months, Greek bank shares have decreased by around 25 per cent and despite the solid progress in operating performance, the sector remains unacknowledged due to EU-wide recession fears.
“Piraeus has undergone a remarkable operational turnaround and cut 20 billion euros of NPEs (non-performing exposures) from its balance sheet since end-2020, while visibly improving its revenue and cost structure,” the report said.
Piraeus Bank has surpassed its business plan and has raised its fully-loaded Core Equity Tier 1 target to 11% from 10%.
JPMorgan said Piraeus’ share valuations at 3.1 times 2023 expected price-to-earnings and 0.2 times price-to-tangible book value looked very attractive, noting they remained at levels when the bank’s NPE ratio was close to 50% and it had a 2 billion euro CoCo instrument on its balance sheet, according to Reuters.
“We think this is unwarranted and see 100% upside potential, among the highest in our CEEMEA Banks coverage,” JPMorgan added in the report.
JPMorgan has an ‘overweight’ rating on all four Greek banks, including Alpha, National, and Eurobank, confirming its positive outlook on the sector to reflect cleaned up balance sheets and above-trend growth.