PRAGUE. APRIL 11. INTERFAX C.N
TRAL EUROPE - Slovak private equity group Penta Investments has bought a 73% stake in Slovak private bank Privatbanka held by Austrian Meinl Bank and aims to acquire the remaining stake by end-2007, Penta said Wednesday.
"We are interested in acquiring the 100% of Privatbanka by the end of this year so we will continue in our negotiation with Meinl Bank to get the remaining stake," Penta spokesman Martin Danko told Interfax.
On March 15, the bank signed a contract with Meinl Bank on the acquisition of two share packages representing 73% of Privatbanka, Danko said, adding that both sides agreed not to publish the purchase price of the deal.
The takeover is now subject to approval by the Slovak National Bank (NBS) and Anti-Monopoly Office (PMU).
Former state-controlled retail bank Banka Slovakia was taken over by Meinl Bank in 2003, which turned it into a bank specializing in private services.
Danko said Penta does not want to change Privatbanka's core business as it sees a huge niche for this type of services on the Slovak market.
"We will retain the current business and add new products and services," Danko said.
In 2006, Privatbanka's pretax profit amounted to SKK 64.3 mln, approximately a 50% year-on-year (y/y) increase.
Penta, established in 1994, focuses on the acquisition of large and medium-sized companies, their restructuring, and increasing their value.
Its consolidated assets are worth approximately EUR 860 mln according to company data.
Penta's latest high-profile purchase was the acquisition of Czech aerospace company Aero Vodochody for CZK