Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has sold its leasing business in Poland to PKP Leasing, a unit of the largest Polish lender, state-controlled PKO BP, the Austrian banking group announced on November 2.
The deal fulfils the smaller part of a long-term plan by RBI to offload Raiffeisen Leasing Polska, as well as its Polish banking business, under a restructuring effort. PKO has been in talks to take over the leasing business for some weeks, while Alior Bank - controlled by state-run insurer PZU - is negotiating an acquistion of Raiffeisen Polbank. The two Polish companies were reported to have agreed not to compete for the assets.
PKO Leasing has agreed to pay around PLN850mn (close to €200mn) for Raiffeisen Leasing, RBI said in a statement. “The signing of the agreement with PKO Leasing is [an] important milestone concerning our strategic realignment program. We are pleased to have concluded the sale with a top-notch buyer and at a price that reflects the outstanding quality of Raiffeisen-Leasing Polska," RBI CEO Karl Sevelda said.
The Austrian bank has been looking to offload its businesses in Poland for over 18 months, but uncertainties hanging over the Polish banking sector have held back interest in Raiffeisen Polbank. Polish regulator KNF said in early October RBI has until end of June next year to complete the deal.
At the same time, the watchdog has long opposed further consolidation in the banking sector by leading players, which has increased PZU’s chances to seal the deal. The state-controlled insurer is leading a government-pushed effort to 'repolonise' the banking sector by building a top-five banking group, a push supported by KNF.
Alior acquired BPH from GE Capital in April, while the PZU-led group is also reported to be closing in on Pekao. Poland's second-largest bank is being sold bt Italy’s UniCredit in a restructuring drive similar to that of RBI, albeit a little more urgent.
Reports have estimated RBI was likely to achieve a price of around PLN3bn-€4bn (€690mn-€920mn) for both of its Polish units. That suggests a potential price tag for Raiffeisen Polbank of PLN2.8bn-PLN3.8bn
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