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Fifth time lucky for PKO

Back to Polish Banking

One of the highlights of 2004 for the Polish banking sector was the IPO of 38% of PKO Bank in November. This was the fifth time the government had tried to privatize the bank, and failure would have been a major embarrassment.

The bank is well positioned, with by far the biggest branch network and a commanding position in retail banking. However, it has been dogged with image problems, and is still occasionally perceived as a politicized, communist-era organization.

But there was nothing outdated about its IPO – the biggest the Polish market has seen. The stock priced at Zl20.50, after Zl20.50 to Zl23 pre-pricing talk, raising the equivalent of about e2 billion. Artur Szeski, bank analyst at CDM Pekao, says: "It was how it did in the secondary market that was the big positive surprise."

The stock rose 13% in one hour, and is now trading at Zl25. It broke the record for the highest turnover in a single session of the exchange. Bielecki says: "We had people queuing up for three days and nights to open accounts at PKO, in order to get a discount on the shares.