* Price close to bottom of indicated range
* KBC, Santander selling up to about 21 percent of BZ WBK
(Adds details, background)
WARSAW, March 21 Belgium's KBC and
Spain's Banco Santander closed books on the sale of a
minority stake in Polish lender Bank Zachodni WBK at
245 zlotys ($76.01) per share, three market sources told Reuters
The price was near the bottom of the indicated range of
240-270 zlotys, showing demand was not as strong as the sellers
had expected. The price at which books closed was also 4 percent
below the closing market price.
Earlier this week, KBC and Santander said they were placing
a stake of up to about 21 percent in Poland's third largest bank
in terms of market capitalisation.
KBC said it would sell the 16.2-percent stake it received as
part of its deal to sell Polish unit Kredyt Bank to Santander,
which merged Kredyt Bank with BZ WBK.
Santander, which holds a 75 percent stake in BZ WBK, was to
sell up to 5.2 percent.
The placement to institutional investors was aimed at
satisfying the Polish regulator's requirement that 30 percent of
BZ WBK lands in the hands of other minority investors by the end
BZ WBK shares fell 0.2 percent on Thurday to 255 zlotys,
valuing the lender at 23.9 billion zlotys ($7.38 billion) before
the announcement that the books had closed on the stake sale.
The shares have risen 5.6 percent so far in 2013, despite a
4 percent fall in the wider bank index. Reuters data
shows that BZ WBK has the highest return on equity at 17.7
percent among its Polish peers. The median for the sector is
($1 = 3.2392 Polish zlotys)
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Pawel Bernat; Writing by
Marcin Goettig; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)