Hungary’s OTP mulls acquisition in Ukraine

By bne IntelliNews February 13, 2024

Ukraine is putting two state-owned banks up for sale and OTP is interested in buying one of them, financial website Portfolio quotes Economichna Pravda’s report citing people familiar with the issue.

Late last month, Deputy Finance Minister Yurii Drahanchuk said foreign investors have shown interest in acquiring Ukrgasbank and Sense Bank and the state is actively making preparations for their privatisation.

Both financial institutions ranked among Ukraine's top ten most profitable banks in 2023. Ukrgasbank, established in 1993, operates as a commercial bank in Ukraine. Sense Bank, previously a Ukrainian subsidiary of Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman's Alfa-Bank, was nationalised in the summer of 2023 following sanctions against its owner.

The price tag for Sense Bank is between UAH 6bn-12bn (€150mn-300mn). The final purchase price may be influenced by a legal process initiated by the previous owners, who are demanding $1bn from the government due to the bank's nationalisation.

The merger between OTP’s Ukrainian subsidiary and Sense Bank would create the fourth-largest lender in the country.

On Friday, OTP sold its Romanian subsidiary in a deal with Romania’s Banca Transilvania for €347.5mn, withdrawing from the market after 20 years as to failed to generate a sizeable market share.

Hungary’s largest lender has completed 14 acquisitions in the last 10 years and sold two subsidiaries as it divested its Slovak operation in 2020. Foreign units accounted for more than 60% of the bank's net profit in the first nine months of 2023.

OTP is present in both Russia and Ukraine. The combined assets of the units account for just above 6% of OTP’s consolidated balance sheet

Last October, the Ukrainian National Anticorruption Agency (NAZK) removed OTP Bank from its 'sponsors of war' list after six months. OTP’s inclusion on the blacklist further increased tensions between Budapest and Kyiv.

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