October 15, 2014 / 3:55 PM / 5 years ago

GE considers sale of Polish unit Bank BPH

The logo of U.S. conglomerate General Electric is pictured at the company's site in Belfort, April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

WARSAW (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N) is considering selling its Polish business Bank BPH BPHP.WA, BPH said in a statement on Wednesday.

Bank BPH said that General Electric, which owns nearly 90 percent of the bank’s shares through three subsidiaries, has informed BPH that it is “analyzing strategic possibilities” of selling the bank’s shares.

Bank BPH, Poland’s 10-largest bank by assets, has a market capitalization of $961 million.

Poland’s financial watchdog KNF issued a statement following Bank BPH’s announcement signaling it could oppose the plan.

A KNF statement said: “KNF attaches great importance to the fulfillment of commitments by majority shareholders of banks, especially those commitments that have not been fulfilled.”

“Any potential unilateral actions of a shareholder, without seeking KNF’s consent, could form a basis of supervisory action against the investor not fulfilling the commitments,” KNF said.

A KNF spokesman declined to provide further details. GE was not immediately available to comment.

Poland’s banking sector is going through major consolidation, with the country’s largest lender PKO BP (PKO.WA), its top rival Bank Pekao (PEO.WA), and the No.3 player BZ WBK BZW.WA all signaling they would look into possible acquisitions.

The banks are mostly owned by foreign players, with Italy’s UniCredit (CRDI.MI) controlling Pekao and Banco Santander (SAN.MC) running BZ WBK.

Reporting by Marcin Goettig. Editing by Jane Merriman

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