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Erste aquires Romania’s Banca Comerciala

Romania's parliament approved Erste Bank AG's purchase of Banca Comerciala Romana SA, the country's largest lender, paving the way to complete the biggest takeover of a Romanian company. Erste's acquisition of the Romanian lender known as BCR was approved by a vote of 135 lawmakers in favor and 118 votes against, with two abstentions, said Horia Pop, a spokesman for the Chamber of Deputies. Erste is Austria's second-biggest lender. „The vote is final,” Pop said today in a phone interview. The vote endorsed a July 26 government decision to limit damages deriving from would-be claims on BCR linked to the 1999-takeover of Romania's bankrupt bank Bancorex SA. The decision limits damage payments by Romania to no more than half of the €3.75 billion Erste agreed to pay for BCR in December. Romania also agreed to pay back losses of € 150 million to as much as € 300 million to Erste, if such losses occurred since Erste and the government signed the transaction in December. Erste agreed to buy 61.9% in Romania's BCR, beating a rival bid from Banco Comercial Portugues SA. That stake includes the 25% plus one share held jointly in BCR by the International Finance Corp. and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. (Bloomberg)