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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Slovak ČSOB stake attracts EBRD

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is interested in acquiring a portion of Slovakia's stake in the Czech bank ČSOB, Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Mikloš said on July 6.

Miklos told a news conference that the EBRD was offering to purchase a part of Slovakia's shares in the ČSOB at the same price as the Belgian bank KBC will pay to Czech shareholders.

In June, the Czech Republic sold a 65.7% stake in one of its largest banks, Československá Obchodní Banka (ČSOB), to Belgium's KBC Bank for 40.05 billion Czech crowns ($1.13 billion).

The Slovak central bank has a 24% stake in ČSOB, inherited from the split-up of the Czechoslovak federation. Mikloš said the EBRD's investment regulations allowed it to purchase at most 50 to 70% of Slovakia's stake.

Czech shareholders have so far blocked Slovakia's attempts to sell its stake due to a dispute over some 17 billion Czech crowns of debt owed by Slovakia to ČSOB, currently being considered at a Washington-based investment court.

The Slovak central bank has said KBC had offered to buy the Slovak stake in ČSOB under the same conditions as it bought the Czech stake.

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