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The EBRD has sold half its equity stake in Bank Pekao, a leading bank in Poland, to a number of local and international institutional investors, reducing its stake to 3.3% from 6.6%. The bank acquired its stake in 1998 as part of an effort to provide institutional strength to Bank Pekao and help promote its growth in the country. The EBRD sold 5.5mn shares at a value of Z103 per share.

The shares, which are listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, were placed with the institutional investors by way of an accelerated bookbuilding process undertaken by Citigroup, which acted as bookrunner. Bank Pekao also has global depository receipts listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Noreen Doyle, first vice-president at the EBRD, says the sale is a strong example of the EBRD’s mandate to support the transition process across the bank’s countries of operations. First, it highlights the EBRD’s ability to help strengthen financial institutions, as well as five years of successful cooperation between the EBRD and Bank Pekao. In that time there have been many positive developments, notably the introduction of UniCredito Italiano as the majority investor. Second, the sale should also benefit the local capital markets by increasing the free float of the bank’s shares. Doyle adds that Bank Pekao has demonstrated its capacity to attract a following amongst high quality, including new, local and international investors.

Although it has reduced its shareholding by 50%, the EBRD remains a significant investor in Bank Pekao and strongly supports its further development.