State giants reportedly agree to carve up Raiffeisen's Polish business

By bne IntelliNews September 9, 2016

Polish state-controlled banks PKO BP and Alior are bidding to buy Raiffeisen Bank International’s (RBI) Polish leasing and banking businesses, local media reported on September 9.

The pair is said by unnamed sources to have struck an agreement not to compete with one another for the entire Polish group, which consists of Raiffeisen Leasing and Raiffeisen Polbank, Puls Biznesu claims. 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.

PKO BP will reportedly buy the leasing unit, while Alior - which is controlled by state-run insurer PZU - is eyeing Polbank. Raiffeisen Leasing would fit PKO BP’s portfolio of financial services. The lender’s executives recently travelled to Vienna to meet with RBI on the transaction, the newspaper reports.

An acquisition would see PKO become Poland's largest leasing company. Financial market watchdog KNF has long opposed any further consolidation of the banking sector by current market leaders.

PZU is leading a government-pushed effort to 'repolonise' the banking sector by building a top-five banking group. That plan has the support of KNF. Alior acquired BPH from GE Capital in April, while the PZU-led group is also reportedly closing in on buying Pekao, Poland's second-largest bank, from Italy’s UniCredit.

RBI is likely to achieve a price of around PLN3bn-€4bn (€690mn-€920mn) for the two units, unnamed sources tell Puls Biznesu.

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