Greece's Piraeus Bank to sell $1.7 bln bad loans to Bain Capital

ATHENS, May 29 (Reuters) - Greece's largest lender Piraeus Bank said on Tuesday it had agreed to sell a 1.45 billion euro ($1.7 billion)portfolio of secured, non-performing business loans to Bain Capital Credit as part of moves to reduce its bad debts.

Greek banks have been under regulatory pressure to tackle their bad debt problem, which restricts their ability to expand credit and help the economy recover, with so-called non-performing exposures (NPEs) being their biggest challenge.

Piraeus said the deal, subject to approval by regulators and Greece's HFSF bank rescue fund, which owns 26.2 percent of the lender, would reduce its NPE ratio by 100 basis points and boost equity capital by 20 basis points.

It did not provide further details on the pricing.

Piraeus, which holds 32.2 billion euros in non-performing exposures, was advised by UBS on the deal.

Greek central bank data shows non-performing exposures fell by 4.7 billion euros to 95.7 billion at the end of December, 43.1 percent of overall loan books.

Bain Capital Credit is a credit specialist with about $37 billion in assets under management, investing across credit strategies, including leveraged loans, high-yield bonds, distressed debt and non-performing loans (NPLs). ($1 = 0.8666 euros) (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos Editing by Alexander Smith)