EBRD supports expansion of Poland’s Alior Bank

By Axel  Reiserer

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Acquisition of Bank BPH operations will create the tenth largest banking group in Poland

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting Alior Bank’s expansion through its acquisition of Bank BPH’s Core Operations, which will make Alior Bank the tenth largest bank in Poland by total assets.

The acquisition, totalling approximately PLN 1.6 billion (€350 million), will be financed by a rights issue of PLN 2.2 billion (€520 million). The funds raised in excess of the purchase price will strengthen Alior’s capital base to facilitate further expansion and financing of integration costs. As a shareholder in Alior Bank, the EBRD will contribute with an equity participation of PLN 106 million (approximately €25 million equivalent) in accordance with its current stake in the bank.

Alior Bank was set up in 2008 and has grown into a medium-sized innovative retail bank with more than 3 million domestic clients. Alior is focused on consumer lending and has a rapidly growing platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. Poland’s largest insurance company, Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń (PZU), holds a 25 per cent direct stake in the bank.

Bank BPH is majority-owned by General Electric. The sale of BPH’s core operations will support the reorganisation of the bank in line with its 2015 business transformation plan. Ultimately, the transaction will contribute to the consolidation of the Polish banking sector, whose size relative to the economy remains moderate, with a credit to GDP ratio of less than 60 per cent.

Lucyna Stańczak-Wuczyńska, EBRD Director for EU Banks, said: “As a shareholder in Alior Bank, the EBRD is pleased to participate in this important milestone acquisition. We are pleased with the bank’s development, growth and its high quality management. We are confident that today’s acquisition will allow the bank to continue to grow successfully. The acquisition will provide an excellent platform for Alior Bank’s ambitious plans to establish itself in the top tier of the Polish banking sector for the benefit of private customers as well as businesses. An improved availability of credit provided by strong domestic banks will support the growth of Poland’s economy.”

Wojciech Sobieraj, CEO of Alior Bank, added: “The EBRD has been our shareholder since Alior Bank entered the Warsaw Stock Exchange in 2012. We are very pleased for them to participate in the rights issue and to have them support our strategy of development, including the acquisition of Bank BPH’s Core Operations.”

Since the beginning of its operations in Poland in 1991, the EBRD has invested €7.8 billion in about 370 projects in the country. In addition to its wide range of products for banks and companies, in recent years the Bank has also built a growing portfolio of investments (both equity and debt) in the Polish financial sector, for which demand remains high.

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