Business World

Sunday 18 March 2018

Portuguese bank to keep its Polish arm

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Portugal's Millennium BCP bank has been given the OK to hold on to its profitable Polish subsidiary despite the bank having to sell assets to repay bailout loans.

In contrast, taxpayers here lost out after state-owned AIB was forced to sell its business in Poland at a knock-down price in 2010 as a condition of its bailout.

Yesterday the European Commission approved a restructuring plan for Millennium BCP that will see it sell assets in Romania and Greece but retain its profitable Polish arm.

The bank had to submit its restructuring plan to cut costs and sell assets as a condition of a €3bn rescue financed out of Portugal's €78bn bailout by the EU and IMF.

Portugal's largest listed bank said its business was viable without the need for continued state support.

The bank said it could hold on to its Polish unit, which is seen as a "core operation", as long as its rescue bill does not rise.

"There is no commitment to sell it unless the amount of convertible bonds to be paid (by BCP) in December 2016 exceeds €700m," the bank said.

Earlier this year the Irish Independent revealed the cost of AIB's hasty sale of its stake in Poland's Bank Zachodni in 2010 after Belgian bank KBC and Spain's Santander raised the equivalent of €1.16bn from the sale of a 21.4pc stake in the same bank.

That deal valued the 70pc stake AIB sold in 2010 at €4.2bn instead of the €2.94bn the Irish bank actually received.

AIB was forced to sell its assets by the Central Bank and the Troika.

Irish Independent

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