December 14, 2017 / 8:01 AM / 10 months ago

BAWAG says agrees to buy north German bank Deutscher Ring Bausparkasse

VIENNA, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Austrian bank BAWAG has agreed to buy north German building society bank Deutscher Ring Bausparkasse, it said on Thursday, continuing its policy of making bolt-on acquisitions and expanding in Germany.

BAWAG, a former trade union bank, was majority owned by U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management until Cerberus sold down its stake in October in Austria’s biggest ever initial public offering.

It agreed to buy the bank, which is headquartered in Hamburg, from Swiss insurance company Basler Versicherungen and Signal Iduna Group for an undisclosed price.

Deutscher Ring Bausparkasse is a relatively small building society bank — with total assets of 551 million euros ($651.4 million) at the end of last year and roughly 100 employees.

BAWAG said it planned to use it as a regional foothold.

“The acquisition of Deutscher Ring Bausparkasse creates a solid foundation for BAWAG Group to expand its footprint and customer base in northern Germany,” BAWAG Chief Executive Anas Abuzaakouk said in a statement.

BAWAG, Austria’s fourth-biggest bank, has been hoarding capital for acquisitions. Abuzaakouk said it was involved in 4-5 potential acquisitions in Germany.

It acquired German regional lender Suedwestbank this year.

BAWAG also said it was signing a memorandum of understanding with Basler Versicherungen Germany, part of the Baloise Group, on strategic cooperation, adding that it planned to offer “simple and transparent banking products” to Basler’s customers.

$1 = 0.8459 euros Reporting by Francois Murphy, editing by Kirsti Knolle

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