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Erste’s successful takeover of Banca Comerciala Romana

Romania's Competition Council approved Erste Bank AG's takeover of Banca Comerciala Romana SA, the country's biggest lender, pending final ratification of the transaction by parliament. Erste Bank, Austria's second-biggest lender, in December agreed to pay € 3.75 billion ($4.82 billion) for 61.9% of the Romanian lender that's also known as BCR, beating a rival bid from Banco Comercial Portugues SA. That stake includes the 25% plus one share held jointly in the lender by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corp. „The majority stake was sold to the investor that offered the highest price.” Romanian Finance Minister Sebastian Vladescu said last month that the government and Erste Bank agreed upon a Sept. 21 deadline to complete the sale of BCR. The council yesterday also approved a July 26 decision by the government to limit damages deriving from would-be claims on BCR linked to the 1999-takeover of Romania's bankrupt bank Bancorex SA. Authorities determined at the time that Bancorex had accumulated losses totaling $2 billion from bad or preferential loans. Vladescu said last month that the government adopted a decision limiting would-damage payments to no more than half of the € 3.75 billion Erste agreed to pay for BCR. Any claims should be filed no later than Dec. 31, 2013, according to the decision. (Bloomberg)