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State, EBRD buy 15% stakes in Erste Bank Hungary

Deals

The Hungarian state and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) today finalized the acquisition of 15% stakes each in the local unit of Austrian banking group Erste, as per an agreement made in February 2015, Hungarian news agency MTI reported. Hungary reportedly paid HUF 38.9 billion for its 15% stake.

Hungary acquired its stake in Erste Hungary through a firm called Corvinus Zrt., National Economy Minister Mihály Varga said, according to MTI. The minister said the purchase price was determined by independent experts and a market evaluation.

When the deal was first announced more than a year ago, it was said to be contingent on the Hungarian governmentʼs promise to reduce the extraordinary bank levy.

“If there is a change in the framework for the financial sector, we will invite both parties to invest in our local entity,” Erste Group spokesperson Michael Mauritz said when the deal was first mentioned last year

Hungary cut the bank levy this year, and will cut it further in next yearʼs budget package. Varga said banks will save HUF 80 bln because of the reductions the government made in in the bank levy.

The board of directors of EBRD approved the purchase of a 15% stake in Erste Bank Hungary in May.

The purchase today was in line with predictions saying that the deal could be wound up by the end of the second quarter.

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