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Kulska board supports OTP’s takeover bid

OTP Bank Rt intends to make a takeover bid for the acquisition of an at least 67% stake in Novi Sad-based Serbian bank Kulska banka, OTP announced on Thursday.

OTP said that Kulska banka’s largest shareholders support the bid, and the Serbian bank's board therefore recommended all shareholders to accept it. Kulska banka had total assets of €136.3 million at the end of 2005, corresponding to a 1.5% share of Serbia's banking market.
OTP deputy-CEO Zoltán Spéder told a press conference last week that if the acquisition of Kulska banka is successful, it will be merged with OTP’s two existing banks in Serbia: Niska banka, which has a 0.7% share of the market, and Zepter banka, which has a 1% share of the market.
OTP bought an 89.39% stake in Niska banka for €14.21 million in March 2006. The bank had after-tax profit of €300,000 in 2005, closing the year with total assets of €37.8 million. The bank had 80,000 clients and 24 branches at the end of 2005.
OTP signed a contract to buy a 75.1% stake in Zepter banka for $41.3 million also in March, but the acquisition has still not been closed. The bank had after-tax profit of €620,000 in 2005 and closed the year with total assets of €76.7 million. The bank had 52,000 clients and 17 branches, including six in Belgrade, at the end of the year.
Spéder said at the press conference a week earlier that intensive talks are underway on buying two banks in Ukraine and a decision should be reached on both within several weeks. Spéder did not name the banks, but press reports speculated that one is Raiffeisen's unit in Ukraine, JSCB Raiffesienbank Ukraine, which had total assets of €1.2 billion at the end of 2005 and 39 branches, catering mainly to corporate clients. Spéder said OTP aims to acquire a promising mid-sized regional bank with total assets of USD 1.1 billion-1.2 billion in Russia. A decision on the purchase could be made in Q2.
OTP's foreign units accounted for 20.2% of consolidated total assets at the end of March. They contributed Ft 5.92 billion to first-quarter consolidated profits, or 10.3% of the total.