UniCredit’s surprise announcement that it was selling a 9.1 per cent stake in Bank Pekao SA, its Polish subsidiary, went down like a lead balloon Wednesday on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

The bank’s share price fell by more than 6 per cent before levelling out at a loss of 5.3 per cent, its worst performance in more than two years. Pekao’s Italian parent hopes to raise about $1.3bn in the sale, which would leave it with a 50.1 per cent stake in the Polish bank, the country’s second largest. Read more

Shares in PKO BP, Poland’s largest bank, have dropped sharply on news that the state is selling a chunk to help meet its privatisation target and to raise funds for a government-owned development bank. Read more

Ukraine’s Kredobank is a tiny bank in a fragmented market but its owner, Poland’s PKO BP, hopes to use the experience it gains from trying to turn it around to build its capacity to become a significant regional bank.

PKO BP is central Europe’s biggest bank by market capitalization, worth about €9.1bn, but has no large foreign operations – its only non-Polish investment is Kredobank, with a tiny 0.4 per cent share of the Ukrainian market. Despite being so small, Kredobank has been a source of worry and costs for state-controlled PKO BP ever since it bought it in 2004 from KBC for $54m. Read more

Poland’s largest bank, state controlled PKO BP, is taking a closer look at possibly purchasing a big bank in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the bank’s CEO told Bloomberg in an interview.

The admission of geographic interest is a departure for CEO Zbigniew Jagiello, who added that he was interested in one of the top three banks operating in the Czech Republic or Slovakia. In a recent chat with beyondbrics, he was very careful to say only that the bank was interested in “the closest neighbourhood” but was not holding any acquisition talks. Read more

Investors delivered a rare vote of support for European banking on Wednesday by backing the near-$1bn sale of shares in PKO BP, Poland’s biggest bank.

The state, which controls the bank,  raised 3.2bn zlotys ($936m) selling a 7.8 per cent stake, with surprisingly few difficulties given the lack of investor confidence in European banking. But, as Warsaw has repeatedly pointed out during the global crisis, Poland is different. And it’s not in the eurozone. Read more