PZU Falls as Investors Await Government Share Sale: Warsaw Mover

PZU SA fell to the lowest in three weeks amid analyst expectations that last year’s rally in the stock will prompt the government to sell shares in Poland’s biggest insurer before three other companies.

The stock lost as much as 2.2 percent to 413.60 zloty in Warsaw, falling for a third consecutive day, to its lowest since Dec. 14. The benchmark WIG20 index declined 0.9 percent.

Poland’s government last month approved the “gradual” transfer of state-owned stakes in PZU, Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA, PKO Bank Polski SA, and Ciech SA to Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, to start the lender’s investment plan. The Treasury Ministry also said on Dec. 27 that it may reduce its stake in PZU by 10.1 percentage points to 25 percent.

“PZU shares are the most obvious choice for the government after a recent upside move,” Marcin Jablczynski, a Warsaw-based analyst at Deutsche Bank AG, said by phone. “A possible transaction should not depress the price much lower as the company has a strong balance sheet and offers relatively high dividend yield.”

PZU rose 41 percent in 2012 compared with a 20 percent increase in the WIG20 index. PZU favors a 100 percent dividend payout providing it is “not limited” by the financial regulator, Chief Executive Officer Andrzej Klesyk said on Nov. 14. The insurer earned 2.3 billion zloty ($730 million) of unconsolidated net income in first nine months of 2012.

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