OTP Bank gears for new acquisitions

Deals

mlsz.hu

OTP Bank has been preparing for two decades to take advantage of proper merger and acquisition opportunities in the region. This time has finally come, said Sándor Csányi, chairman and CEO of the bank and one of the countryʼs wealthiest men, in an interview with Bloomberg appearing online today.

Csányi said OTP is planning at least five bank takeovers in the next two years, which will raise the portion of revenues generated from outside the country to 70% from its current level of 45%.

“We’ve waited for 20 years for this wave of banking consolidation in Europe. It’s finally happening now,” Csányi told the financial news specialist.

The cash earmarked for expansion is USD 1 billion, but the OTP CEO would not name specific acquisition targets.

The bank has already made several acquisitions in the region, having recently acquired the Hungarian business of AXA Bank, Splitska banka (Croatia), Banca Românească (Romania) and Vojvođanska banka (Serbia).

Bloomberg notes that OTP’s acquisitions helped its shares touch a decade high of HUF 10,600 a month ago before falling back to HUF 9,895 forint by last Friday’s close, still headed for a gain of 18% for the year. The lender’s USD 10.5 bln market capitalization makes it Hungary’s largest company, the report adds.

Csányi was quoted as saying in the interview that OTP’s “very conservative” approach has allowed it to survive turbulence ranging from the conversion of toxic Swiss-franc loans to an onerous bank tax in Hungary.

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