Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI), eastern Europe’s third-biggest lender, plans to complete the purchase of EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA (EUROB)’s Polish unit by the end of the second quarter after winning regulatory approval.
Raiffeisen got authorization to buy Polbank EFG, and will combine it with its Raiffeisen Bank Polska SA unit, KNF, the Polish regulator, said in an e-mailed statement. Raiffeisen pledged to sell at least a 15 percent of the combined Polish division on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (GPW) by June 2016, KNF said.
The Polbank acquisition will make Raiffeisen one of the biggest lenders in eastern Europe’s largest economy, and the unit will become the Vienna-based bank’s biggest foreign unit after Russia. The deal is part of Chief Executive Officer Herbert Stepic’s strategy to bolster the bank’s presence in the eastern part of the European Union, while lowering the dependency on units in the former Soviet Union.
Raiffeisen agreed to pay 490 million euros ($643 million) for 70 percent of unprofitable Polbank in February 2011 and has since worked on getting regulatory approval. Some “technical measures” still have to be finalized before the deal can be closed, Raiffeisen spokeswoman Susanne Langer said. That will happen within the coming weeks and by the end of the quarter, she said.
Parent Raiffeisen may also publicly trade its own shares in Warsaw by June 2018, the regulator said, adding that in case this is “impossible” it will have to increase the Polish unit’s free float to at least 25 percent.
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