Santander to sell stake of up to 5.2 percent in its Polish unit

Deal could bring in 315 million euros for leading Spanish bank

Banco Santander on Monday said it plans to sell up to a 5.2-percent stake in its Polish unit Bank Zachodni WBK as part of a secondary offering of up to 19.978 million shares with fellow shareholder KBC of Belgium.

Santander expected to sell not less than 195,216 shares, equivalent to a 0.21-percent stake, and up to 4.852 million shares, which would represent 5.19 percent of BZ WBK’s current share capital. KBC in turn plans to sell 15.125 million shares, or 16.17 percent of BZ WBK.

If the offer is fully taken up, the free float of BZ WBK following would rise to 30 percent, thereby allowing Santander to fulfill its commitment toward the Polish regulator that at least 30 percent of the capital of BZ WBK is in hands of other minority investors before the end of 2014. Banco Santander will continue to be the controlling shareholder in BZ WBK with a stake of no less than 70 percent following the offering.

The offering will be made to eligible institutional investors and within an indicative price range of 240-270 zlotys per share, which values BZ WBK at between 5.40 and 6.07 billion euros. The final sale price will be determined through a bookbuilding process which began on Monday and is expected to end no later than Thursday March 21.

If Santander sells 5.2 percent of its Polish unit, it will take in 315 million euros.

BZ WBK last year absorbed KBC’s Polish unit, Kredyt Bank, as part of an operation in which the Belgian company acquired a 16.4-percent holding in the merged lender.

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