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FHB commercial bank receives operating licence

Hungary's financial market regulator PSZÁF issued an operating licence to FHB Kereskedelmi Bank, a commercial-banking unit of FHB Mortgage Bank, on November 23, the mortgage bank announced in Magyar Tőkepiac on Friday.

In May, PSZÁF approved the establishment of FHB Kereskedelmi Bank, to be set up with net assets of Ft 6 billion, including registered capital of Ft 2 billion and capital reserves of Ft 4 billion, according to earlier information. FHB Mortgage Bank was to own 90% of the bank, while its subsidiary FHB Szolgáltató will hold 10%. Setting up a commercial bank unit was part of FHB's midterm 2006-2010 strategy announced in February, which is designed to transform the mortgage bank into a financial group with five subsidiaries, including a commercial bank, a property-appraisal and real-estate management unit, a leasing company, a life-annuity provider and a services company, an already existing unit. FHB has since established all but the leasing unit, with life-annuity unit FHB Életjáradék beginning operations in early November. FHB had unedited consolidated IFRS nine-month earnings of Ft 5.64 billion(EUR 21.8 million), a decline of 13.2% year on year, which the bank earlier attributed primarily to Q2 and Q3 spending on strategy-related investments. Consolidated total assets rose 15.6% to Ft 539.3 billion in the twelve months concluding on September 30, 2006. Hungary's privatization agency APV has recently called a tender for an advisor to sell the state's 54.11% stake in FHB. Shareholders with a stake in excess of 5% include Allianz Hungária which acquired 8.0086% of FHB this year, and Silvermist Estate, holding 7.5757% of the shares. (Mti-Eco)