(Releads with timing of stake sale)
By Pawel Sobczak
WARSAW, May 15 (Reuters) - French financier Romain Zaleski is expected to choose a buyer for his 25 percent stake in Poland’s Alior Bank by the end of this month, a source familiar with the matter said.
The stake, held by Zaleski’s Italian holding company Carlo Tassara, would make the buyer the largest single shareholder in Alior, which has a market value of around $1.9 billion.
Banking sources told Reuters earlier this month that Polish insurer PZU, France’s second-biggest lender Societe Generale and Polish bank Getin Noble had submitted offers to buy the stake.
“The process of choosing the investor should finish in the last week of May. Now is the time when bidders are pushing on the price,” the source said.
The chief executives of Getin Noble and Alior declined to comment on Friday, as did representatives at Societe Generale and PZU.
Alior, in the process of swallowing smaller peer Meritum Bank, reported a 33 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to 91 million zlotys ($26 million).
According to banking sources, PZU, which is eastern Europe’s biggest insurer, wants to use the Alior stake as the basis on which to build its own banking arm.
It is also casting an eyes over other banks up for sale -- the local units of Austria’s Raiffeisen and General Electric, those sources said.
$1 = 3.5634 zlotys Reporting by Pawel Sobczak and Marcin Goclowski; Additional reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz; Editing by Christian Lowe and Mark Potter