PKO Bank Targets Poland And Central Europe For Investments
PKO Bank, Poland’s largest bank by assets, is interested in possible acquisitions both in Poland and Central Europe, and therefore will not pay dividends for the year 2009, said Executive Director Zbigniew Jagiello, quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
“Poland and Central Europe Center is the region where we can be active on the merger market,” said Jagiello.
The state-owned bank, PKO, recently took part in the bid for the controlling stake in Bank Zachodni, put on sale by the Irish group Allied Irish Bank, but lost to the Spaniards at Santander.
PKO chief denied rumors about a possible acquisition bid for the Czech bank CSOB together with the insurer PZU, also a state controlled corporation.
Jagiello still has time until December 10 to make a major purchase, and if he fails, much of the profit recorded by PKO in 2009 will go to shareholders under the form of dividends.
However, analysts believe that the bank would have more to gain if it would focus on Poland and not on markets it does not know.
Jagiello has also said he expects the bank to obtain a profit of 3 billion zlotys (750 million euros) in 2010. “If there are no unpleasant situations, our plan to increase profits with a two-digit percentage is not in danger,” said the head of PKO.
The bank, with assets estimated at $ 17 billion (12.7 billion euros), plans a bond issue worth 800 million euros to increase liquidity.
“After the success of the Eurobond issue made by the government, we decided to also go out on emerging financial markets,” said Jagiello.
PKO Bank is Poland’s largest bank. Although floated on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, as of July 2009 the state still holds 51.24% of shares.
The privatized remnant of one of Poland’s state banks, PKO BP is today one of the largest companies in Poland and on the Forbes Global 2000 list. The full name Powszechna Kasa Oszczędności roughly means “General Savings Bank,” and Bank Polski means “Polish Bank.”11