Report: State seeks control over exiting banks

Deals

Széchenyi Bank, owned 49% by the state, has made a bid for the Hungarian business of Raiffeisen Bank, political daily Magyar Hírlap reported this weekend. The ’paper said the Austrian company, which has earlier raised the prospect of divesting its less-appealing markets – Hungary being on top of the list due to its high sectoral taxes eating into profits – is already evaluating the offer.

Magyar Hírlap also cited government sources saying that the local assets of Erste Bank will also come under state control. The move is in line with central efforts after central bank governor György Matolcsy announced that some eight major foreign banks will exit Hungary in the near future, a sentiment largely echoed by Economy Minister Mihály Varga.

The state acquired its stake in Széchenyi Bank in 2013. Until then, the company had a single owner that can be linked to the current head of the state debt management office ÁKK, István Töröcskei.

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