European Markets

MONETA Money Bank reaches $1.2 billion deal for PPF's Air Bank

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PRAGUE, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Czech lender MONETA Money Bank agreed a re-worked 25.9 billion crown ($1.16 billion) deal to buy the Air Bank group of companies from PPF, its largest shareholder, reviving a bid that other shareholders had rejected earlier this year.

PPF, the investment group started by late Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, is making a final attempt at combining its Czech and Slovak lending assets with MONETA to create a bank aimed at retail and small-business customers.

MONETA shareholders had backed the combined tie-up at a June general meeting but rejected a proposed share issue to help finance the purchase, in which PPF, a nearly 30% shareholder, would have gained a majority stake.

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PPF said the revamped deal, which will be subject to shareholder approval at a Dec. 20 meeting, was no longer conditional on gaining a majority share. It said it would no longer support the sale if MONETA shareholders reject the deal.

MONETA wants to raise at least 20.95 billion crowns in a new two-round issue of 255.5 million shares, boosting its total outstanding shares to 766.5 million, as part of the deal. The rest of the purchase price will be paid from excess capital.

A first round of the share issue will be open to all shareholders at a discounted price of 82 crowns a share.

Untaken shares will then be offered in a second round at a premium of 90 crowns per share, and PPF agreed to subscribe for all remaining shares, MONETA said.

"PPF Group’s backstop effectively guarantees the success of the proposed equity capital increase if approved by MONETA shareholders," MONETA said.

MONETA said shareholders will also vote for a planned 3 crown per share dividend from 2019 and 2020 retained earnings. Additionally, it expected to propose another 7 crown per share dividend in the first half of 2022 before closing the acquisition.

($1 = 22.2350 Czech crowns)

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Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Dan Grebler

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