Czech lender Moneta expands with deal for Kellner's Air Bank

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Moneta Money Bank MONET.PR said on Monday it had provisionally agreed to buy tycoon Petr Kellner's Air Bank and other Czech-Slovak operations in a tie-up that would create the Czech Republic's third largest bank by network.

Under the planned 19.8 billion crown (673.2 million pounds) deal, Moneta would buy Air Bank, which is owned by Home Credit - part of Kellner’s PPF financial group - and Home Credit’s other Czech and Slovak businesses.

Home Credit in turn would take a 24.48 percent stake in the expanded Moneta group, becoming its biggest shareholder.

Moneta said it expected the deal to increase the group’s dividend per share by at least 10 percent in the first full year after the deal closes, which is expected by mid-2019.

Moneta said its 2018 dividend payment - forecast at 5.50 crowns per share - would not be affected by the deal, under which Home Credit will subscribe to 165.6 million newly issued Moneta shares. Home Credit will not be entitled to the 2018 dividend.

Moneta will also pay Home Credit 6.75 billion crowns in cash as part of the deal.

Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Jason Neely and Susan Fenton