Poland’s state-controlled insurance firm PZU has signed an agreement to purchase a 25.3% stake in mid-tier Polish lender Alior Bank from the bank’s biggest shareholder, Carlo Tassara.
The acquisition, valued at PLN1.63bn ($436m), will add to PZU’s already controlled 4.5% interest in the bank’s investment and pension fund.
PZU CEO Andrzej Klesyk said: "Today’s acquisition is the first step for us to consolidate the Polish banking industry."
The insurer is also in talks to buy two more banks as part of a plan to build a top-five banking group in the country.
Klesyk said: "We’re in talks to buy two more banks as we want to create one of Poland’s top-five lenders.
"We expect at least one more such agreement before the end of the year."
However, PZU will aim to remain a minority stakeholder in Alior, which will be part of its banking arm to be separate from the other parts of PZU’s business.
Klesyk said: "The possibilities of wider growth on the insurance market are largely limited. Banks will be an important element of PZU value growth in the coming years.
"We see potential in the fact that currently there are a few local banks that must be sold."