BUDAPEST, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday the country’s bank tax will be lowered by a total of about 60 billion forints ($220 million) after signing a memorandum to buy a stake in Austrian Erste Bank’s local unit.
Orban said the government would change tax base and also the rate of the tax, currently one of the highest such levies in Europe that has earned him scorn from Western partners.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which was also a signatory to the memorandum, said Hungary pledged not to take direct or indirect majority stakes in systemically important local banks, and will sell any such stakes within three years.
Erste Chief Executive Officer Andreas Treichl said the bank was interested in Hungarian and Czech units of Citibank, which he said would be for sale.
Bank shares rose, with local OTP Bank up 5 percent in late trade.
$1 = 271.78 forints Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Robin Pomeroy