EBRD increases its investment in Poland’s Meritum Bank

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

Continuing its support for the financial sector in Poland, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is increasing its investment in Meritum Bank by €2.4 million equivalent in Polish zloty, to €16.3 million equivalent, by purchasing newly issued shares of the bank. The investment is done in conjunction with the other key shareholders of Meritum Bank and is aimed at assisting further growth of the Gdańsk based lender.

EBRD’s investment is matched by approximately EUR 2.4m from WCP COOPERATIEF U.A., an affiliate of the private equity fund Wolfensohn Capital Partners, L.P.

Innova/4 L.P, indirectly controlling the biggest shareholder of Meritum Bank, is providing an additional €5 million equity investment.

Meritum Bank is a fast growing consumer finance bank in the Polish market. With a network of 116 own and partnership branches, it focuses on small business and general-purpose retail lending.

“This will be our follow on investment in Meritum Bank, - said Lucyna Stanczak, EBRD Director for Poland – It will further support the dynamic growth of Meritum Bank, enabling it further expansion of its portfolio of loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises”.

“Partnership with EBRD and WCP on this project has been very successful to date – added Krzysztof Kulig, Managing Partner at Innova Capital responsible for Meritum transaction -  Thanks to the funding provided jointly by the shareholders, Meritum Bank was able to quadruple its asset base within the last 3 years and to reach net profitability.  Also, during the last 3 years Meritum has created nearly 600 new jobs and became a significant employer in the region.  Key operational focus going forward will be to diversify the client base and distribution further via, inter alia, developing cooperation with Tesco and aiming to access the under-banked population, which is still significant outside the biggest cities.”

After completion of the recapitalization by the end of this week, Meritum Bank’s equity will be increased by a total amount of approximately PLN 41 million.

To date, EBRD has invested about €5.7 billion in the Polish economy in over 300 projects.