State to sell TakarekBank stake

Dávid Ferenc

The state of Hungary will sell its stake in TakarekBank, the “central bank” for the country’s savings cooperatives, in an open, international tender, a government decree published in the fresh issue of the official gazette Magyar Kozlony shows. The deadline for bidding is January 15, 2014. Bids will be evaluated by March 15 and the contract signed with the buyer by March 30, according to the decree. The decree mandates the establishment of a joint committee of the state-owned companies that hold TakarekBank’s shares, the Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) and Magyar Posta, with the involvement of the Hungarian National Asset Management Company (MNV), to prepare for the sale by December 20. The national development minister has been assigned the duty of preparing, coordinating and carrying out the sale. The state-owned stake will be sold to the highest bidder. A government resolution mandating the sale of TakarekBank could give savings cooperatives a chance to reacquire their stakes in the bank, but a decision on the matter must be taken quickly, the head of business association VOSZ said.Ferenc David noted the resolution states that preference in the open, international tender for the state’s stake in the bank should be given to “players in the savings cooperative sector”. Savings cooperatives, which hold 49pc of TakarekBank, have the resources to acquire the stake, he added. Takarekbank’s shareholders, mostly savings cooperatives, approved the de facto takeover of the bank by the state through a capital raise at a general meeting in August. The move was part of a government initiative to integrate savings cooperatives with the aim of creating synergy and meeting stricter European Union capital adequacy requirements. The initiative gives Takarekbank the power to determine standards for risk management, business policy and strategy for all savings cooperatives that are members of the integration.