Queue forms to buy Dexia Banka

INTEREST in purchasing Dexia Banka Slovensko, which the French-Belgian Dexia Group must sell by the end of October 2012, appears to be quite high. Thus far it has been the biggest financial groups in Slovakia that have shown the most interest. These include private equity groups Penta, J&T and Istrokapital as well as Tatra Banka, even though the owners of Dexia Group are apparently not currently holding talks with J&T, the Sme daily wrote in early November.

INTEREST in purchasing Dexia Banka Slovensko, which the French-Belgian Dexia Group must sell by the end of October 2012, appears to be quite high. Thus far it has been the biggest financial groups in Slovakia that have shown the most interest. These include private equity groups Penta, J&T and Istrokapital as well as Tatra Banka, even though the owners of Dexia Group are apparently not currently holding talks with J&T, the Sme daily wrote in early November.

Based on a decision by the European Commission after the Dexia Group received government assistance of €6.4 billion in 2008 and underwent restructuring, the banking group must sell its majority stakes in Dexia Crediop and Dexia Banka Slovensko by October 31, 2012, and its majority stake in Dexia Sabadell by December 31, 2013.

Dexia Group is not providing any details of its negotiations and therefore the number of potential buyers and who they are as well as why the parent group is not currently holding talks with J&T remain confidential.

“We will not comment on the process of the sale of the bank because at question is a transaction between the group Dexia and potential interested parties,” Michal Fúrik, spokesperson of Dexia Banka Slovensko, told Sme.

Sme wrote that the actual value of the bank is somewhat uncertain. Dexia Banka Slovensko lost a lawsuit filed against it by Ritro Finance in 2008 which accused the bank of causing a loss in Ritro’s trading in the foreign exchange market. The court ordered the bank to pay Ritro Finance €139 million. The bank has appealed the verdict.

Michal Sýkora, the head of the Association of Towns and Villages of Slovakia (ZMOS), thinks that the worst thing that could happen would be if municipalities started to panic about the selling of Dexia Banka Slovensko. Sýkora is the mayor of Štrba, one of 329 Slovak municipalities which together own an almost 12-percent stake in Dexia Banka.

ZMOS stated that it assumes that the new owner will respect the previous focus of the bank on financing, banking services and loans to municipalities and regional governments.

Dexia Banka closed the January-September period with a loss of €843,000 but its operating profit for the period was €3.6 million. The bank has 49 branches across Slovakia and employs 742 people. Sme reported that Dexia Banka provides banking services to 84 percent of the towns and municipalities in Slovakia as well as to five of the eight regional self-governments.


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