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Banca Comerciala Romana Listing Delayed Until ‘Conditions Right’

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Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The owners of Banca Comerciala Romana SA, or BCR, Romania’s biggest bank by assets, agreed to delay a share sale on an exchange, Chief Executive Officer Dominic Bruynseels said.

The bank, which is majority owned by Austria’s Erste Group AG, reached an accord with five investment funds, known as SIFs, that together own 30 percent to put off the sale “until market conditions are right,” Bruynseels told reporters yesterday. A listing won’t necessarily include all the shares, he said.

Erste, which bought 61.9 percent of BCR from the Romanian state in 2005 for 3.75 billion euros ($4.95 billion), said at the time that it would sell shares of the bank within 36 months, because a clause in the purchase contract states that a 75 percent stake is required for effective control if the shares aren’t traded.

During the past two years, as recession gripped Romania’s economy and the stock exchange, Erste and the SIFs agreed to delay the share sale until market conditions improve, pushing back several deadlines.

BCR’s nine-month profit fell 29 percent on increased bad-loan provisions, amid lingering recession in. Net income dropped to 494.5 million lei ($152 million) from 699.5 million lei a year earlier. The net charge with provisions for bad loans totaled 1.6 billion lei.

To contact the reporter on this story: Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez in Prague at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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