WARSAW, July 7 (Reuters) - Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is still obliged to float its Polish unit although it was unable to find investors to back its initial public offering, the financial sector regulator, KNF, said late on Thursday.
RBI was due to sell a 15 percent stake in an IPO to fulfil a commitment to the Polish regulator, which demands lenders are listed to ensure better transparency and safety of Poland’s banking sector.
On Thursday Raiffeisen decided to postpone the offering. According to sources demand was weak even at a hefty discount of 0.6 to the book value, pricing the stake at 126 million euros ($143.83 million).
“KNF is concerned with the information that the Raiffeisen Bank Polska shares’ sale failed,” KNF said in a statement.
“KNF will take necessary steps to ensure that bank shares are floated on the Warsaw stock exchange with free float at 15 percent or higher,” it said.
Raiffeisen pushed last month for the listing to be postponed, arguing there was insufficient demand for a stake in a bank that is forced to set a large amount of capital aside for a portfolio of mortgages denominated in Swiss francs. It also wanted more time for a cost-cutting programme to take effect.
But the regulator stuck by its demand that the listing take place, having already granted Raiffeisen a one-year extension last year. ($1 = 0.8760 euros) (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Stephen Coates)