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Hungary's MKB may be target of Sberbank expansion into Central Europe

Russia’s biggest lender, OAO Sberbank, could potentially target Hungary’s MKB for its next acquisition, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

MKB declined to comment when appraoched by the BBJ over the phone.

Germany’s Bayerische Landesbank, MKB’s parent bank, has been getting ready to float MKB’s shares on the German bourse by 2013 at the latest since last year.

Hungary’s fourth-biggest bank, MKB may be worth almost €1 billion based on the price-to-book multiples of 1.2 of Hungarian market leader OTP Bank Nyrt.

On July 14, Sberbank made an agreement with Austria’s Oesterreichische Volksbank AG (ÖVAG), purchasing nine smaller banks in countries in Eastern Europe, including Hungary, where it bought 51% shares.

According to Sberbank’s Gref, the purchase was his "first step in transforming Sberbank into a global bank."

The deal created a platform for further acquisitions. Options are abundant in light of such banks as Belgium’s KBC Groep NV (KBC), Portugal’s Banco Comercial Portugues SA (BCP) and Austria’s Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG possibly selling their assets across the region.