FHB Rises to 2-Week High as Chairman Buys Shares: Budapest Mover

FHB Jelzalogbank Nyrt., a mortgage lender in Hungary, rose to the highest level in two weeks after its chairman bought shares amid speculation it will buy the government’s stake in an umbrella bank for savings cooperatives.

The stock rose 2.2 percent to 660 forint, the strongest close since Jan. 2. About 195,000 shares traded, or 2.7 times the three-month daily average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Chairman Zoltan Speder’s A64 Vagyonkezelo, an asset management company, bought 2.435 million shares for 1.93 euro each, taking his holding in FHB to 13.2 million, or 20 percent of voting rights, the lender said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The shares have more than doubled in price since mid-October on bets the bank may bid for Hungary’s 55 stake in Takarekbank, an umbrella organization for savings cooperatives.

FHB is seeing “organic growth” from Hungary’s improving macroeconomic environment and increasing margins, Jozsef Miro, an equity analyst at Erste Group Bank AG’s Budapest-based brokerage, said by phone. The market is speculating the company has “good chances” of buying the state’s stake in Takarekbank, Miro said.

Hungary will announce the result of the sale by March 15, according to a decision taken by the cabinet Dec. 17.

FHB recorded a net loss of 282 million forint ($1.3 million) in the third quarter, down from 2.6 billion forint a year earlier.

“FHB has posted losses in the past few years and if an insider buys a large amount of shares, that shows he is positive about the future,” Miro said.

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