Piraeus Bank has secured green light from the shareholders to advance with a planned equity offering to raise around €1bn ($1.19bn).

The Greek lender secured shareholders’ approval at an extraordinary meeting held this week, Reuters reported. Around 99.3% of shareholders present in the meeting voted in favour of the plan.

The fundraising by offering new shares will reduce state holding in the bank.

Currently, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), a special purpose vehicle, holds 61.3% of the share capital of Piraeus Bank.

The lender expects that the equity offering will trim HFSF’s holding below 33% without any blocking power.

In the shareholder meeting, Piraeus Bank CEO Christos Megalou said that the fundraising will also help in reducing the ratio of bad loans.

At the end of last year, Piraeus Bank’s non-performing exposures (NPE) ratio at the end of last year was 45%. It does not include two securitisations that will end later this year.

The Reuters report added that the equity offering will involve a domestic public offering and an international placement with institutional investors via bookbuilding.

Both the procedures will take place simultaneously.

The issue price of the shares is expected to be the same for local and institutional investors.

Notably, Piraeus Bank has offloaded several subsidiaries in the recent years as part of a restructuring plan