ECONOMY

Eurobank EFG has eye out for partner in Poland

Eurobank EFG said yesterday it may hook up with a partner in Poland and will aim to boost its business in the central European country in a bid to partly offset falling income from the Greek market. Eurobank EFG, Greece’s second-largest lender, said its next development phase in Poland involves spinning off its branches into a separate business with a full banking license and doubling the size of its balance sheet in the medium term. «We believe the prospects of Poland and its banking sector to be highly attractive and we are excited about the development potential of our organization,» said Kazimierz Stanczak, CEO of Polbank EFG, Eurobank EFG’s Polish unit, in a statement. Polbank EFG has a 335-branch network and 4.4 percent share of the retail lending market, ranking eighth on the country’s list of the largest retail banks. The Greek lender also said that it «is not involved in talks with any other particular party,» denying press reports of ongoing negotiations with peer HSBC that emerged on Monday. Analysts estimate that Poland contributes about 8 percent to the loan book of Eurobank EFG, which is also present in Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Cyprus. For 2009, Eurobank EFG’s net earnings fell 45 percent to 362 million euros, mainly due to an increase in bad loans. Shares in the bank added 4.62 percent on the Athens bourse yesterday to 4.53 euros, outperforming a 2.61 percent rise on the broader market.