Banking War of Nerves

Polish Farewell?

Polish Farewell?

A war of nerves is being waged around Raiffeisen Polbank. Its parent company, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), has sent out teasers concerning the disposal of its Polish assets. Meanwhile, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) has instituted proceedings to deprive the bank’s owner of its shareholder voting rights. This is the harshest penalty the Polish regulator can impose and, once meted out, it could paralyse the operations of a financial institution. The procedure is progressing briskly, testament to KNF’s previous announcements not being empty threats. The CEO of Raiffeisen Polbank has already been summoned to the questioning scheduled to be held in March. “Investor commitments are essential for stable and cautious bank management, particularly in the context of volatility on global financial markets,” says a KNF spokesman. The regulator bears a grudge against RBI for not floating Raiffeisen Polbank on the stock exchange and for failing to ensure the stability of Poland’s eighth largest bank. RBI undertook to float the Polish assets by mid-2016. At the beginning of the year there was talk of bringing forward the IPO, yet in February RBI surprised the market with information of its plan to withdraw from Poland and sell the bank. In response, the regulator applied a powerful measure of exerting pressure on the Austrian holding company to enforce the fulfilment of its initial commitments. The Austrians, however, do not seem to be concerned and are proceeding with the sale as planned. RBI sent out teasers to the banks already present in Poland as well as investors potentially interested in entering this market. Also, PZU received an acquisition offer. The purchase of the bank by an entity controlled by the state treasury would fit into the concept of increasing the presence of Polish capital in the banking sector, although until now PZU has been reluctant about a marriage between banking and insurance.
Puls Biznesu

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