PKO Bank Polski SA, Poland’s biggest lender, advanced to a five-month high after signing an agreement to buy Nordea Bank AB (NDA)’s assets for 694 million euros ($925 million).
State-controlled PKO, which faces increasing competition from foreign-owned lenders, will buy Nordea’s bank, financing and life insurance units in Poland. Nordea will keep financing its mortgage portfolio and will participate in the risk of the loans losing their value, PKO said in a statement yesterday.
PKO shares climbed 2 percent to 37.15 zloty at 10:45 a.m. in Warsaw, the highest level since Jan. 4. Turnover amounted to 130 percent of the daily average from the last three months. Bank Pekao SA, the country’s second-largest lender and a unit of UniCredit SpA, fell 1.2 percent, while the WIG20 Index of the largest and most liquid stocks declined 0.3 percent.
‘The transaction could help improve sentiment toward PKO shares as in the environment of slowing volume growth PKO found a relatively inexpensive way to boost growth and utilize excess capital,’’ Kamil Stolarski, a Warsaw-based analyst at Espirito Santo Investment SA, said by phone.
Poland has been among the most active markets in Europe for deals involving banks and insurers in the last three years. Spain’s Banco Santander SA acquired Bank Zachodni WBK SA and Kredyt Bank SA and created the country’s third-largest lender this year. Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International AG bought Polbank SA from EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA of Greece, while Germany’s Talanx AG purchased insurer Warta SA from Belgium’s KBC Groep NV.
PKO’s biggest takeover, which is subject to regulatory approval, will boost PKO’s assets by 16 percent to 229 billion zloty and add 136 outlets to its 1,200 branch network. PKO shares have gained 0.7 percent so far in 2013, compared with a 4.1 percent decline in the WIG20 Index.
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