Greece's National Bank (NBG) had ended the negotiations with Shanghai-based GONGBAO Group on the sale of a majority stake in its insurance unit ETHNIKI, as reported by the international media.
REUTERS wrote, quoting NBG representatives, that "no further negotiations with GONGBAO would be pursued".
GONGBAO was the only bidder in the final stage of binding financial offers for the buyout of a 75% stake in Greece's leading insurer.
In a statement issued through a PR agency in Athens, GONGBAO said the NBG had unilaterally halted negotiations. "We reserve our rights to pursue legal action," the GONGBAO news release said, quoted by REUTERS.
At the same time, NBG officials pointed out that "the sale procedure did not go through because the NBG was asking for required information regarding the money GONGBAO had offered but this never came to the NBG."
ETHNIKI's sale is part of a larger restructuring plan approved by Greece's second largest lender by assets with regulators, to exit non-banking operations.
ETHNIKI Insurance is Greece's largest insurance company, with presence also in Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
In June 2017, the National Bank of Greece's board approved the sale of 75% stake in ETHNIKI Insurance to the American-Dutch consortium CALAMOS-EXIN after bidding about EUR 718 million.
Other bidders were the Chinese conglomerate FOSUN and Shanghai-based GONGBAO.
The NBG declared the tender barren after the sale of ETHNIKI to CALAMOS-EXIN failed because by the end of March 2018, the purchase amount of EUR 718 million had not been paid.