UPDATE 1-Polish watchdog says no decision on BNP Paribas deal before August

Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:39am EST

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(Updates with responses from BNP Paribas, Rabobank)

WARSAW Feb 20 (Reuters) - Polish financial regulator KNF will not rule on French lender BNP Paribas's proposed $1.4 billion takeover of Rabobank BGZ before August, the watchdog's deputy head was quoted as saying on Thursday.

BNP agreed last year to buy the Dutch lender Rabobank's Polish business, the east European country's eleventh-largest bank by assets, as it returned to the acquisition trail after a period of restructuring.

But the deal needs approval from KNF, which has previously signalled its scepticism about further consolidation in the Polish banking sector and said it would take a close look at the transaction.

KNF's Wojciech Kwasniak told local daily Puls Biznesu the deal was complex and the decision process coincides with the asset quality review and banking stress tests taking place throughout Europe.

"According to assumptions, the asset review will end in July and stress tests will start at the turn of August and September, with their results to be known in October," Kwasniak said. "For our opinion (on the BNP deal), we need at least the information about the asset review results."

Asked about Kwasniak's comments, a BNP representative in Paris declined to comment.

Rabobank spokeswoman Milou Verhaegh said the bank understands the Polish regulator has to follow a certain process. She said the bank does not know when that process will end, but hopes it will be as soon as possible. (Reporting by Adrian Krajewski in Warsaw, Lionel Laurent in Paris and Sara Webb in Amsterdam; Editing by David Evans)

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