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State might buy Budapest Bank

Deals

Hungary’s mid-sized retail and commercial bank for small- and medium-sized businesses, Budapest Bank (a member of General Electric group) may become state-owned, newsportal 444.hu reported yesterday.

 The acquisition of the shares from GE by the Hungarian state will cost the Hungarian taxpayer significantly more than the HUF 17 bln paid for the troubled MKB bank earlier this year. Although half the size of MKB, Budapest Bank has been profitable for years despite the levy imposed on banks operating in Hungary.

If the transaction is completed, the market share of “Hungarian-owned” banks will be well above 50%, the target communicated earlier by the government. The government may now look for a more concentrated Hungarian banking sector, the online news portal said, citing unnamed sources. GE refused to comment.

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