EEMA round-up: Romania
After its success with the sale of BCR late last year to Erste Bank, Romania’s government seems determined to press ahead with the sale of one of the few remaining banks of any size in central Europe, CEC. The final bidding deadline for the 85% stake is April 26, with six European banks – National Bank of Greece, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Dexia Bank, EFG Eurobank, OTP Bank and Raiffeisen Bank – having shown an interest by mid-March. The decision to go ahead with the sale surprised many bankers, given that the government had an alternative proposal to restructure the bank over two years to boost its value, with some suggesting until recently that CEC might never be sold.
CEC has Romania’s largest branch network but according to figures from Merrill Lynch it has been losing market share annually. Its current market share of 4.5% compares with a high of 20% in the 1990s.