Erste Group eyes Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank's unit in Serbia - report.

By bne IntelliNews November 8, 2012
Erste Group is interested in taking over the Serbian unit of Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International, which launched earlier this week the sale of its five units in Southeastern Europe, daily Blic reported, quoting anonymous sources. Erste, which already owns a bank in Serbia, intends to become the third largest lender on the Serb market via the acquisition, according to the report. A possible obstacle for Erste's plans could emerge if Hypo insists to sell all five units worth EUR 1.5bn in a package since Erste is allegedly interested only in the Belgrade-based unit. Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International, however, has said it intends to sell the offered assets as an integral unit but will also accept bids for individual parts of them. It launched the re-privatisation of its subsidiaries in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Slovenia on Nov 6, inviting potential bidders to express their interest by Dec 7. According to end-Sep data of the central bank, Hypo's Serb unit ranked as sixth largest bank in terms of assets (6% market share), while Novi Sad-based Erste Bank was 12 biggest lender (2.8% share) among 33 active banks. In case of a merger, they will become the third largest lender, tracking behind only Banca Intesa and Komercijalna Banka.

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