POLAND's PZU aims to build top-five banking group with Alior buy

Central Europe's top insurer PZU has agreed to buy a 25 percent stake in mid-tier Polish lender Alior Bank, adding on Saturday it was in talks on two more buys as part of a plan to build a top-five banking group.

Confirming what two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday, the state-controlled insurer said it would pay 1.63 billion zlotys ($436 million) for the biggest single shareholding in fast-growing Alior from French financier Romain Zaleski.

The price tag of 89.25 zlotys per share compares with Alior's closing price on Friday of 92.96 zlotys.

"It's our first step in consolidating the Polish banking sector by PZU," Chief Executive Andrzej Klesyk said.

"We want to forge a bank which would rank in the top five by asset value ... We're in talks to buy two other banks. We expect at least one more such agreement before the end of the year." Read the full story
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