Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) said it has given its preliminary approval for the proposed acquisition of a 99.74 per cent stake in Societe Generale Expressbank by Banka DSK.
In August, France’s Societe Generale announced the deal to sell its Bulgarian and Albanian subsidiaries to Hungary’s OTP Bank, which already owns Banka DSK in Bulgaria. The financial details were not disclosed.
Banka DSK was Bulgaria’s second-largest lender at the end of September, with assets of 12.86 billion leva, while SG Expressbank had 6.57 billion leva in assets. After their merger, the new entity would vie for top spot with UniCredit Bulbank, whose assets stood at 19.15 billion leva at the end of September.
The deal is also the largest in the recent wave of consolidation in Bulgaria’s banking sector. Last year, Belgian-based KBC Group bought United Bulgarian Bank (UBB) and merged its existing subsidiary into UBB, which is now the country’s third-largest bank with assets of 10.89 billion leva.
But it could lose that position after Greek Eurobank Ergasias said last week that it agreed a deal in which its Bulgarian subsidiary, Postbank (8.16 billion leva in assets), would buy the Bulgarian unit of fellow Greek lender Piraeus Bank (Piraeus Bank Bulgaria had 3.14 billion leva in assets at the end of September).
Earlier this year, the central bank also approved the sale of small Victoria Bank to Investbank.
(Bulgarian National Bank photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)