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Poland Backs Transfer of PKO, PGE, PZU, Ciech Shares to BGK

Poland’s government approved the transfer of state-owned stakes in Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA, PKO Bank Polski SA, PZU SA and Ciech SA to its Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego to kick start the lender’s investment plan.

The government will “gradually” transfer to the bank, which will oversee a state investment program, shares amounting to as much as 11.4 percent in PGE, 8.4 percent in PKO, 10.1 percent in PZU and 37.9 percent in Ciech, the Treasury Ministry said in an e-mailed statement after a cabinet meeting today.

The stakes will then be sold by BGK and its unit, Celowej Spolki Inwestycyjnej, or CSI, through and proceeds used to raise capital, Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski said. The government wants to increase the bank’s capital, now at 1.9 billion zloty ($614 million), by 10 billion zloty to boost its lending capabilities.

“We plan to support both entities gradually, according to their needs,” Budzanowski said in the statement. “Most importantly, the share sales will be carried out with the highest capital market standards, which primarily mean looking out for the interests of other shareholders.”

The BGK-run program plans to spur economic growth, which slowed to a three-year low in the third quarter, by helping finance investment in the energy industry and infrastructure, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Oct. 12.

Investments shrank 1.5 percent over the past 12 months as the government reduced spending to reduce the budget deficit and as the European Union’s 2007 to 2013 budget winds down.

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