February 12, 2016 / 10:28 AM / 2 years ago

Poland's Getin Noble sells leasing assets in $56 mln deal

WARSAW, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Getin Noble Bank has agreed to sell almost 51 percent of Getin Leasing to shareholder LC Corp BV in a transaction worth 218 million zlotys ($55.73 million), Poland’s sixth largest lender said on Friday.

Getin is under pressure to free up capital, as Swiss franc-denominated mortgages account for an estimated 12 billion zlotys of its 50-billion-zloty loan book.

Around 550,000 Poles took out loans denominated in the Swiss franc mainly before the collapse of Lehman Brothers looking to benefit from low interest rates. The cost of servicing the loans has soared as the currency’s value has almost doubled since then.

LC Corp BV is Getin Noble’s largest shareholder. The group belongs to Poland’s third richest man, Leszek Czarnecki, a self-made billionaire who created a number of financial businesses.

Getin Noble’s market valuation is down almost 27 percent this year to 1.17 billion zlotys, after a 73 percent slide in 2015.

Banks have been hurt by concerns about the potential cost to them stemming from plans to have them convert their Swiss franc-denominated mortgages into zlotys.

$1 = 3.9119 zlotys Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; editing by Jason Neely

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