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National Bank of Greece reopens race for insurance unit Ethniki

National Bank of Greece SA will examine alternative options to the sale of 75% of its insurance unit to EXIN Financial Services Holding BV after a deadline to fulfill certain conditions lapsed.

EXIN and U.S.-based Calamos Investments LLC had agreed to pay €718.3 million for the stake in Ethniki Hellenic General Insurance Co. SA, the sale of which is a condition for European approval of National Bank of Greece's receipt of state aid.

China's Fosun International Ltd. said in the week of March 19 that it would still be willing to bid for Ethniki if the EXIN bid fell through.

Meanwhile, EXIN CEO Matt Fairfield told The Insurance Insider that the company is still in a stronger position than Fosun and other would-be Chinese bidders. He added that the company, which has faced liquidity issues, needed to finalize an agreement with one equity backer.

"We are almost there on the capital," Fairfield said. "We just came up short on the deadline."

Calamos had pulled out of its agreement to be the cornerstone backer for the Ethniki deal and has sued EXIN for more than $41 million for allegedly defaulting on loans, the Insider noted. Fosun is believed to have offered more than €100 million less than EXIN to acquire Ethniki.