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NBG eyes Erste Bank, OTP -Dow Jones

28. May 2008. | 12:24

Source: Sofia Echo

A merger between UBB and DSK would likely meet regulatory obstacles from the central bank.

Greece’s largest financial institution, the privately-owned National Bank of Greece (NBG), is mulling a strategic partnership or takeover of Austria’s Erste Bank and Hungary’s OTP Bank, Dow Jones news agency reported on May 26.

According to sources close to the Greek bank, the scope of the partnership could range from the purchase of a stake to a merger.

If NBG succeeds with its plans, it would become the largest financial institution in the region and will win broad opportunities for future development, especially in the current market conditions, Dow Jones said, quoting Greek sources.

Representatives of NBG and Erste declined comment on the news, the agency said.

NBG is present in Bulgaria through its arm, United Bulgarian Bank (UBB). With assets worth 6.52 billion leva and a market share of 11.1 per cent, the bank is the third largest in Bulgaria by assets, according to data of the Bulgarian National Bank as of end-March 2008. Gross loan portfolio totaled 5.51 billion leva, which entitles it to a market share of 11.8 per cent.

Hungary’s OTP, in turn, owns DSK Bank, the country’s second largest financial institution. As of March 31 2008, the bank had assets worth 7.7 billion leva and a 12.9 per cent market share. The gross value of its loans stood at 6.49 billion leva, which is equal to a market share of 13.9 per cent.

Austria’s Erste Bank was among the main contenders in the race to acquire a majority stake in then state-run DSK Bank. Currently, Erste has no banking assets in Bulgaria, but has a leasing subsidiary, Immorent Bulgaria.


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