September 5, 2018 / 9:54 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Poland's Alior says SocGen's local unit is an interesting target

(Releads, adds share price)

WARSAW, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Poland’s Alior Bank sees Societe Generale’s Polish business Eurobank as an interesting acquisition target, it said on Wednesday.

“The market is consolidating, and Alior Bank wants to be an active participant in this process. We have significant experience in effectively conducting such transactions. Eurobank is an interesting takeover subject, with a well-ordered business,” Alior Bank said in an emailed statement.

“This is all we can say in this subject at the moment,” it also said.

Reuters reported in June that SocGen was exploring a sale of Eurobank, given increasing competitive pressures on the business.

Sources said at that time Santander, Credit Agricole and Portugal’s Millennium were among the potential buyers of Eurobank.

Two banking sources said Millennium and Alior Bank had submitted offers to buy Eurobank.

“Millennium, Credit Agricole are in the game and Alior has joined too. Santander’s BZ WBK is not in the transaction. For Alior this is a continuation of a strategy to develop through takeovers,” a source familiar with the transaction said.

Millennium Bank and BZ WBK declined to comment.

At 0932 GMT Alior Bank shares were down almost 3 percent, and Millennium had gained 0.3 percent.

Alior Bank has a market capitalisation of 8.8 billion zlotys and is the ninth biggest bank in Poland by assets. PZU, state-run insurer, has a 32 percent share in the lender.

In August Alior Bank and its bigger state-run rival Pekao ended talks on their tie-up as they could not agree on the terms.

Eurobank is the 17th largest Polish bank with assets of 14 billion zlotys. Last year, it made a net profit of 103 million zlotys. The transaction could be valued at up to 300 million euros, one of the sources said.

The sale of Eurobank would reinforce a broader trend of consolidation in Poland’s banking sector, which has accelerated in the past few years as the ruling eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) has party encouraged domestic ownership. (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko, Anna Koper and Marcin Goclowski; editing by David Evans)

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