(Closes shares in sixth paragraph.)
Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Vienna Insurance Group AG, eastern Europe’s biggest insurer, may begin due diligence next month on KBC Groep NV’s Polish business before deciding whether to make an offer.
The first half of October “is the period where we think due diligence could start,” Chief Executive Officer Guenter Geyer said in a telephone interview today, citing bankers managing the sale. “We’ll look closely at the data and review whether we’re going to buy.”
Acquiring KBC’s Towarzystwo Ubezpieczen i Reasekuracji Warta SA would make the Vienna-based company Poland’s second- biggest insurer after PZU SA. Geyer declined to say how much he was prepared to pay for Warta.
Warta may attract more than a dozen bidders, Alexander Dibelius, regional manager at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which advising KBC, said on Sept. 7. The former communist part of Europe overtook Vienna Insurance’s home market of Austria as the biggest contributor to earnings in the first half of this year.
KBC is selling Warta and its 80 percent stake in Poland’s Kredyt Bank SA to repay 7 billion euros ($10 billion) of state aid from the Belgian government.
Kredyt gained 6.8 percent to 12.27 zloty in Warsaw after Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Banco Santander SA, Spain’s biggest lender, made a preliminary offer to buy the bank. This values the bank at 3.3 billion zloty ($1.02 billion).
Raiffeisen Bank International AG of Austria in February agreed to buy EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA’s Polish business for 490 million euros ($667 million) and Santander earlier this year bought Bank Zachodni WBK SA for 2.9 billion euros.
--With assistance from Charles Penty in Madrid and Pawel Kozlowski in Warsaw. Editors: Dylan Griffiths, Steve Bailey
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