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MKB acquires majority stake in Unionbank

MKB Bank Rt has signed a contract to purchase 60% of Bulgaria's CB Unionbank AD, the bank announced on Wednesday. The purchase price has not been made public. The holding is to be purchased from Bulgarian private investors and the EBRD. MKB deputy CEO Imre Balogh said the bank made the purchase at a good price, especially considering that the banking sector is currently the most popular investment target on the Eastern European market. Unionbank had net assets of € 30 million at the end of September. With the transaction, expected to be closed in March after the necessary permissions have been obtained, MKB will fully take over the bank's business management. The Hungarian bank is funding the investment from cash, to be raised from a capital raise scheduled for the first quarter of 2006. Unionbank operates 40 branches in Bulgaria, controlling 1.5% of the market in terms of total assets and 1.4% in terms of deposit accounts. At the end of September, the bank had total assets of € 226 million and equity of € 30 million.