Poland backs regional aspirations of top lender PKO BP: minister

Reuters
Poland's PKO BP bank logo is seen on top of its headquarters in Warsaw
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Poland's PKO BP bank logo is seen on top of its headquarters in Warsaw March 7, 2011. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

OPOLE, Poland (Reuters) - Poland's largest lender, the state-controlled PKO BP (PKO.WA), has the backing of the government for its regional expansion plans, including any acquisitions, the Polish treasury minister said on Saturday.

PKO BP announced in April last year that, as part of a new three-year strategy, it wanted to expand in the region, in part through possible takeovers.

In June, the bank signed a deal with Sweden's Nordea (NDA-SEK.ST) to buy the Polish assets for 2.83 billion zlotys ($934 million), but PKO still awaits approval from the Polish financial regulator to close the deal.

"I am a supporter of building strong Polish brands. PKO BP has the green light from us to strengthen its position in the region," Treasury Minister Wlodzimierz Karpinski told Reuters on Saturday.

Poland controls PKO BP with 31-percent stake in the company. The whole bank is valued by the Warsaw bourse at 53.8 billion zlotys ($17.75 billion).

($1 = 3.0308 Polish zlotys)

(Reporting by Wojciech Żurawski; Writing by Pawel Bernat; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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