* Price close to bottom of indicated range
* KBC, Santander selling up to about 21 percent of BZ WBK (Adds details, background)
WARSAW, March 21 (Reuters) - 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 on Thursday.
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 of 2014.
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 13.57 percent.
$1 = 3.2392 Polish zlotys Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Pawel Bernat; Writing by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle