PKO Bank Offers to Invest $93 Million in Pocztowy to Raise Stake

PKO Bank Polski SA, Poland’s largest lender, offered to buy 290 million zloty ($93 million) of new shares of Bank Pocztowy SA to boost the postal bank’s capital and raise its stake.

State-controlled PKO, which faces increased competition from domestic units of Italy’s UniCredit SpA and Spain’s Banco Santander SA, proposed to raise its stake to 50 percent minus one share from the present 25 percent, Elzbieta Anders, a spokeswoman for PKO, said in an e-mailed statement today, confirming an earlier report in Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

Poczta Polska, the state-owned postal services company that holds 75 percent in Warsaw-based Pocztowy, would buy as much as 90 million zloty of shares and cut its stake to 50 percent plus one share after the capital increase, it said.

“Bank Pocztowy has huge capital needs in a range of 500 million zloty to 1 billion zloty in the next several years,” Anders said. “Pocztowy has no other options to raise enough capital and PKO is its only chance.”

Magdalena Ossowska-Krason, a spokeswoman for Pocztowy, declined to comment when reached by phone today.

In December, the Polish Post rejected PKO’s proposal to buy its stake in Pocztowy and said it proposed to increase capital in the unit. In September 2011 Pocztowy canceled its initial public offering in Warsaw.

PKO wants Pocztowy shareholders to meet in March and vote on the capital increase, Anders said.