Alior Bank share price balks as deal for RBI’s Polish business nears

By bne IntelliNews September 22, 2016

The share price of Poland’s Alior Bank sagged close to 6% on the Warsaw Stock Exchange on September 23, as investors worried over the volume of new capital Alior will need to raise to take over Raiffeisen Bank Internation's banking business in Poland.

Alior Bank - controlled by state-controlled insurer PZU - said late on September 22 that it has entered exclusive negotiations with RBI on taking over Raiffeisen Polbank. While the news was hardly surprising, investors reacted nervously. Alior’s stock dropped to a three-month low on concern a deal will require Alior to find new capital.

RBI’s other business line in Poland, Raiffeisen Leasing, is also for sale. State-controlled lender PKO BP said the same day it has entered  exclusive talks with the Austrian bank. However, PKO stock gained close to 2% in reaction. Taking over Raiffeisen Leasing would complement PKO BP’s business well, analysts suggest.

Alior Bank and PKO BP have been speculated to be in talks with RBI for a while now. The pair was also said to have struck an agreement not to compete with one another for the RBI’s entire Polish group. 

Allior is acting as the agent for PZU's drive to build a large, state-controlled banking group, and has already taken over BPH from GE Capital. PZU is reported to be dealing directly with UniCredit over a deal for Poland's second-largest lender Pekao. The government wants to "repolonise" a market dominated by foreign investors. For PKO BP, the acquisition of Raiffeisen Leasing would see it become Poland's largest leasing company.

The Austrian bank has been looking to offload the units for over 18 months, but uncertainties hanging over the Polish banking sector have held back interest. RBI is likely to achieve a price of around PLN3bn-€4bn (€690mn-€920mn) for the two units, unnamed sources told local media earlier this month.

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