Business Irish

Sunday 25 February 2018

Bank Zachodni soars as Santander agrees to buy AIB stake

Bank Zachodni, Poland’s third-largest bank by value, surged the most in more than 15 months after Santander agreed to buy a majority stake for more than investors had expected.

Zachodni jumped 10pc to 214.4 zloty at 11:15am in Warsaw, posting the biggest intraday advance since June 2009 and valuing the Polish lender at 15.7 billion zloty (€3.98bn). The benchmark WIG20 Index rose 1.6pc.

Santander, Spain’s biggest bank, agreed to buy Allied Irish Bank’s 70pc stake in Zachodni for €2.94bn, according to an AIB statement late on September 10.

That’s about about 227 zloty a share, 16pc higher than Zachodni’s closing price of 195 zloty. The purchase will be implemented through a tender offer for 100pc of the Polish bank’s capital, according to the statement.

“The price is surprisingly high,” said Dariusz Gorski, a Warsaw-based analyst at Wood & Co. “What is also surprising is that Santander plans to buy all shares in Zachodni, which is good news for minority shareholders.”

AIB is selling its stake in Zachodni to bolster a balance sheet depleted by Ireland’s economic slump and property losses.

The sale will generate about €2.5bn of equity Tier 1 capital to help meet the target set by the Financial Regulator, AIB said.

The bank is seeking to raise a total of €7.4bn by the end of the year to meet regulatory capital targets.

Shares in AIB climbed 7.2pc in Dublin today, and Santander gained 1.2pc to €10.04 in Madrid.


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