Croatian central bank approves sale of Splitska Banka to Hungarian OTP’s Croatia unit

Croatian central bank approves sale of Splitska Banka to Hungarian OTP’s Croatia unit
By bne IntelliNews April 20, 2017

The Croatian central bank (HNB) council has approved the sale of a 100% stake in Croatia's Splitska Banka to Hungarian lender OTP Banka’s Zadar-based Croatian unit OTP banka d.d., according to a statement from the HNB.

Societe Generale Splitska is the fifth biggest lender in Croatia, active in both in the retail and the corporate segment. As a result of the acquisition, the market share of OTP Group in Croatia is expected to rise from the current 4.4% to approximately 10%.

The HNB council also approved on April 12 a decision taken by Societe Generale – Splitska banka d.d.’s supervisory board to appoint Slaven Celic as chairman and Balasz Balogh and Balazs Olchvary as board members.

OTP’s CEO Sandor Csanyi said on April 12 that OTP Banka expected to close the acquisition of Splitska Banka from Societe Generale by the end of April.

In December, OTP Bank signed an agreement to buy Splitska Banka. The transaction was expected to close in summer 2017, whereas the integration process may be completed by mid-2018, OTP said in December.

The acquisition price was not disclosed. Splitska Banka had a book value of HRK3.5bn (€471mn) at the end of 2015, and it had 3.4% return on equity (ROE), which was the second best in the country.

Hungary’s largest lender, OTP has long suggested that it is looking for acquisition opportunities, primarily on the markets where it is already present. OTP Bank has been present in Croatia since 2005 and its operation has been continuously profitable even during the economic crisis that started in 2008.

OTP’s decision to acquire Splitska Banka demonstrates the Hungarian lender’s confidence in the Adriatic country, despite an ongoing dispute between lenders and the Croatian government over its Swiss Franc loan conversion programme.

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