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BUDAPEST, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Hungary's OTP Bank signed a deal on Friday to buy the Croatian banking arm of Italy's Banco Popolare for 107 million kunas ($18.94 million) to expand its business in the new European Union member state, OTP said in a statement.
OTP, Central Europe's biggest independent lender, is already present in several states in the region and has an existing business in Croatia.
In Friday's deal, it bought 98.4 percent stake in the bank which has a 0.6 percent share in Croatia's banking market.
The bank has almost 54,000 customers, 35 branches and assets worth 2.272 billion kunas, compared with assets worth 14.139 billion kunas held by the Hungarian bank's existing Croatian business, OTP banka Hrvatska.
"After the transaction, OTP continues to seek regional acquisition opportunities that could contribute to the strengthening of value creation for shareholders," OTP said. ($1 = 5.6488 Croatian kunas) (Reporting by Sandor Peto. Editing by Jane Merriman)