February 26, 2013 / 7:45 AM / in 5 years

Nordea hires BofA to sell its Polish unit -report

WARSAW, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Nordea has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise it on the sale of Nordea Bank Polska, a Polish local newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources close to the deal.

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna said Bank of America has sent invitations to Poland’s top lender, PKO BP, Unicredit’s Polish unit Bank Pekao, and BNP Paribas .

The daily also said that PKO has hired Barclays as an adviser.

“We can’t comment on speculation or rumours,” Erik Durhan, Nordea spokesman told Reuters. PKO BP was unavailable for comment, but the bank said last week it was considering buying a domestic rival.

Nordea Bank Polska has a market capitalisation of $426 million. Its share fell around 30 percent last year.

It is the country’s twelth largest lender by assets, with 720,000 customers, 6.7 billion euros in lending and 1,900 employees.

The slowdown in Poland, the largest central European economy, has hit demand for loans at Nordea’s Polish unit, with strong competition and interest rate cuts eating away margins, Nordea said in its fourth quarter report.

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