(Adds Reuters sources, comments from banks)
By Adrian Krajewski and Marcin Goclowski
WARSAW Oct 4 France's BNP Paribas and
Spain's Banco Santander are set to compete against
Italy's UniCredit in the race to acquire Polish lender BGZ
in a deal worth some $1.2 billion, market sources told
Reuters on Friday.
While some troubled foreign lenders have unloaded Polish
holdings to boost their capital positions, others are keen to
strengthen their place in the biggest eastern European economy.
Rabobank, the biggest Dutch retail bank, said in
June it was reviewing its options for BGZ. On Thursday, the
lender said it had not yet decided whether to sell its
98-percent stake after UniCredit's chief executive said it had
made a preliminary offer via its Pekao
"Pekao and (Santander's Polish unit) Bank Zachodni WBK
are there," one person familiar with the planned
transaction said. "BNP is also keenly interested and is already
running due diligence."
Another source also named the three banks, confirming an
earlier report by Puls Biznesu newspaper.
The daily, citing unnamed sources, said a formal decision on
the deal would be made later this month or in early November.
BGZ, BNP Paribas and Santander declined to comment.
Santander's BZ WBK unit said earlier this week it wanted to
take an active role in the consolidation of Poland's financial
BGZ's thinly traded shares fell 3 percent after gaining 11
percent the previous session.
Poland's bank sector has for years has been under strict
supervision and has been relatively healthy in comparison with
those of many other European nations.
($1 = 3.0853 Polish zlotys)
(Reporting by Adrian Krajewski and Marcin Goclowski; Additional
reporting by Lionel Laurent in Paris and Sarah White in Madrid,
editing by Patrick Lannin)