Friday 19 January 2018

SocGen, BNP said to mull bids for Allied Irish unit

Ambereen Choudhury and Brett Foley

Societe Generale SA and BNP Paribas SA are among banks considering a bid for Allied Irish Banks Plc’s stake in Bank Zachodni WBK SA of Poland, valued at about €2.45bn.

Poland’s PKO Bank Polski SA and OAO Sberbank of Russia are also interested in making an offer for the 70pc stake. Indicative offers are due later this month and at least two private-equity firms are also interested in making bids, according to sources.

Bank Zachodni, based in Warsaw, has a market value of 14.6bn zloty (€3.6bn). The international banks may be seeking to increase exposure to Poland’s economy, which was the only European Union nation to avoid a recession last year. The economy may expand 3pc in 2010, according to a government forecast.

Allied Irish said in March it plans to sell stakes in banks in the US and Poland to help meet its bank regulator’s requirement to raise €7.4bn of capital. Proceeds from the disposal of businesses in the US, Poland and the UK are expected to meet a “substantial part” of the capital needs, Allied Irish Chairman Dan O’Connor said back in April.

Spokeswomen at Societe Generale and BNP declined to comment. Allied Irish spokesman Ronan Sheridan declined to comment, as did Sergei Rachkovsky, a spokesman for Sberbank in Moscow. Bank Zachodni spokesman Piotr Gajdzinski declined to comment.

Societe Generale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea said the price of Bank Zachodni seems “too high.” Oudea was speaking to reporters ahead of a presentation to investors in Paris. Bank Zachodni’s shares have more than doubled in the past 12 months.

PKO Bank Polski’s “strategy for 2010 to 2012 is based on organic growth,” Chief Executive Officer Zbigniew Jagiello said in an e-mail when asked about a possible bid. Still, “no potential acquisition that could lead to an increase of the bank’s assets or its market position should be excluded.”

Polish law requires an investor that buys more than 66pc of a publicly traded company to bid for the rest of the shares.


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