PZU buys stake in Alior bank

Alior BankImage : Vivenge

WSE-listed insurer PZU will buy a 25.25 percent stake in commercial lender Alior Bank from its lead shareholder Carlo Tessara for PLN 1.635 billion, the company announced on Saturday. The transaction needs to be approved by the Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) and consumer watchdog UOKiK.

Andrzej Klesyk, CEO of PZU, said that Alior Bank is “one of the most interesting bank assets in Poland and Europe” and will remain so.

PZU treats the purchase as a financial acquisition and will not take operational control over the bank. The purchase “will provide a solid foundation for further growth of Alior Bank and will strengthen its market position,” according to Alior’s management.

The insurer revealed that it plans further purchases and is in talks to acquire two more banks with one of the deals expected to being closed before the end of the year. Raiffeisen Polbank and GE unit BPH are known to be on the auction block.

“The purchase of Alior is a first step in a process which I hope in coming eighteen months to two years in Poland [will be the] consolidation of the banking sector,” said Klesyk. “I hope we will create a bank that will have aspirations to the top five in Poland.”

Meanwhile, Treasury Minister Włodziemierz Karpiński said that he supports the deal. “I hope that this is just the beginning of further consolidation of the sector around this bank and on the basis of Polish capital.”

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