EBRD reduces stake in Bank Zachodni WBK

By Axel  Reiserer

The EBRD has successfully completed a partial sale of its equity stake in Bank Zachodni WBK S.A., one of the three leading banks in Poland, in an accelerated bookbuild offering to institutional investors. Deutsche Bank acted as sole book runner for the transaction.

The partial sale comprised 0.64% of Bank Zachodni WBK S.A. Following the sale, the EBRD continues to hold 1.00% of the bank’s shares. The EBRD retains a nominee director on the supervisory board of Bank Zachodni WBK S.A. and has entered into a 180-day lock up for the remaining stake.

The placement was successfully launched after market close on the Warsaw Stock Exchange on October 29th and was completed at a small discount to the closing price of PLN 385.00 per share. The sale attracted strong interest and demand from both domestic and international investors, including the UK and US.

Sylvia Gansser-Potts, EBRD Director for EU banks, said: “We are very pleased with the results and performance that the management team and staff of Bank Zachodni WBK have accomplished in the post-merger period. Because of the successful development of the bank, the time has come to reduce our stake and provide other investors with the opportunity to participate in Bank Zachodni WBK’s future success. As an on-going shareholder we remain committed to the bank and confidently look ahead to seeing the merged bank through its final phases of the integration process under Santander’s active and committed ownership.”

The EBRD announced a PLN 332 million equity investment in BZ WBK in March 2012 to support the bank’s merger with Kredyt Bank. The merger resulted in the BZ WBK Group becoming one of the three leading banks in the country. The equity investment followed earlier investments in the form of loans and credit lines to the company including a subordinated €100 million euro-denominated bond issued by Bank Zachodni WBK S.A. to the EBRD in 2010.