Telenor and Societe General possible buyers of Serbia's KBC Banka - report.

By bne IntelliNews March 21, 2013
Norwegian telecommunications firm Telenor and France's Societe General are seen as possible buyers of the Serbian unit of Belgium's KBC Group, which has been on sale for several years now, a report of daily Politika indicated. KBC has been posting loss in almost every year since it entered Serbia in 2007 and could soon become the first foreign lender to exit the country. In February, the head of Telenor Serbia, Ove Fredheim, said the company plans to set up or buy a commercial bank in Serbia and was considering three options - receiving a licence to establish a new bank, buying an existing lender or providing banking services via a partnership. According to Politika, Societe General, which already has a subsidiary in Serbia but is considering expansion, is another possible buyer of KBC Banka. Furthermore, Telenor and Societe General could take over different segments and thus split the bank's existing activities. Politika says, quoting anonymous sources, that talks among the parties are already underway and the central bank has been informed about the process. Telenor, whose core business is telephony services, has no experience in banking (apart from owning a bank in Pakistan), and is therefore considered to have no intention to get involved into classical banking but most likely aims to develop electronic and Internet retail banking. Hence, the telecommunications firm might be interested to acquire only KBC Banka's operational licence, the report says. Societe Generale, on the other hand, could be a candidate for KBC Banka's network branch, loan and deposit portfolios. However, it is not clear yet whether those two potential buyers would also receive the non-performing loans if they take over KBC Banka. It is more likely that the seller settles this bad loans problem at the expense of its own capital, or compensates for their loss via reducing the sales price. Apart from 2011 when it posted a slim pre-tax profit of RSD 128mn (EUR 1.1mn), KBC Banka posted a loss in each of the other four years of its presence in Serbia and reported a pre-tax loss of RSD 319mn for Jan-Sep 2012, latest available central bank figures show. According to unofficial information, KBC Banka has no problems with its retail loans but with the corporate credits. Also, some 40% of its loan portfolio has been in Swiss francs, which servicing was put at risk with the strengthening of this currency amid the global crisis. The head broker of local Sinteza Invest Group, Nenad Gujanicic, told Politika that KBC Banka posted a RSD 890mn loss last year although its interest revenue rose 1.4% to RSD 1.25bn. The most dramatic change in the lender's 2012 balances came from the 12.5% increase in its expenses for bad loans write-off and provisioning to RSD 1bn.

Related Articles

Serbia's external debt up 4.7% y/y to EUR 25.4bn at end-Feb 2013.

Serbia's foreign debt rose an annual 4.7% y/y to EUR 25.4bn at end-February after climbing 6.6% on the year in January, central bank data showed. In monthly terms, however, the external ... more

Vip Mobile Serbia signs five-year managed services deal with Ericsson.

Swedish company Ericsson said it has signed a five-year managed services contract with Vip Mobile - the Serbian arm of Telekom Austria Group. The agreement includes field maintenance services for ... more

Raiffeisen Bank sees Serbia's fiscal gap loosening to 4.5%/GDP in 2013.

Serbia's budget deficit will reach 4.5% of GDP this year, missing the government's forecast of 3.5% of GDP, because of ambitiously planned fiscal revenue and underestimated expenditure, an ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss