Lithuania’s Ukio Bankas Attracts Four Potential Buyers

Four banks in Lithuania are interested in acquiring the assets of Ukio Bankas AB, which was the nation’s sixth-largest lender by assets until its operations were suspended this week, the central bank said.

Siauliu Bankas AB is already negotiating with Ukio’s temporary administrator and three more lenders are seeking to start talks, the Bank of Lithuania in the capital Vilnius said in an e-mailed statement today. It didn’t name the other institutions.

The central bank suspended Ukio’s operations on Feb. 12 and said the lender was insolvent after risky lending to related companies. The Bank of Lithuania said yesterday it was seeking to avoid the bankruptcy of Ukio to limit the potential impact on public finances.

The potential bidders for Ukio’s assets are the local units of Scandinavian banks SEB AB and DNB ASA, and the Finasta investment banking unit of defunct Snoras Bankas AB, which the Lithuanian government took over in 2011, Baltic News Service reported today, without saying where it got the information.

“The Bank of Lithuania wants to determine the prospects for Ukio Bankas’s operations with great rapidity,” the central bank said in its statement. “The temporary administrator must, no later than Feb. 18, offer conclusions and proposals regarding whether and how the bank’s activities can be renewed.”

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