WARSAW Poland's financial market regulator KNF said that Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) must go ahead with the initial public offering (IPO) of its Polish unit by the end of June, despite the lender's decision to stop work on the listing.
Raiffeisen has promised the Polish regulator KNF it will list 15 percent of shares in Raiffeisen Bank Polska, also known as Raiffeisen Polbank IPO-RBP.WA, on the Warsaw bourse by June 30.
But widening losses and a huge portfolio of unprofitable Swiss franc-denominated mortgages led the Austrian lender to delay the listing, sources have told Reuters.
"RBI decided to suspend the prospectus proceedings. The investor's obligation to conduct the IPO of Raiffeisen Bank Polska by June 30, 2017, is still binding," KNF said in a statement.
"We are in discussions with the Polish regulator about the IPO," an RBI spokeswoman said. She declined to provide further details.
In late May Raiffeisen met with the regulator, but KNF said afterwards that the commitment regarding the timing of the IPO remained unchanged.
Analysts said that the regulator could strip the main shareholder from voting rights in the bank or force it to sell it if it does not meet the IPO requirement.
Michal Sobolewski, an analyst with DM BOS brokerage, said that until now the regulator has not forced any companies to press ahead with an IPO if it would lead to a loss for the owner.
"Maybe a solution would be to delay the IPO until authorities eventually resolve the problem of the Swiss francs," he added.
The KNF was not available to comment.
(Reporting by Pawel Sobczak and Marcin Goclowski; Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in Vienna; Writing Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by Lidia Kelly and Louise Heavens)