December 8, 2014 / 3:41 PM / 5 years ago

Abris rejects bid from Polish lender BOS for FM Bank - sources

WARSAW, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Abris Capital Partners has rejected a bid from Poland’s BOS Bank for its FM Bank PBP, two sources with knowledge of the bidding process said, leaving three other bidders still in the race.

Banking sources had named BOS, Hungarian bank OTP, Polish mid-sized lender Alior, and private equity fund AnaCap Financial as bidders for FM Bank.

“BOS’s offer was rejected by the sellers,” a source close to the transaction said.

Abris was ordered to sell FM Bank by next April by the Polish financial watchdog KNF on grounds that Abris had not met its commitments as an investor.

The watchdog said Abris did not consult with it on the choice of chief executive for the bank, which has a book value of 300 million zlotys.

Abris disputes that it did anything wrong and last month said it was suing Poland for at least 2 billion zlotys ($590.07 million), alleging it would incur losses from the state’s action to force it to sell the bank.

The suit, lodged with the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, could be embarrassing for Poland, which sees itself as a model of impartial financial regulation in eastern Europe.

Two foreign-owned mining companies are also taking two separate actions against the Polish government, saying they were deprived of mining concessions in favour of local miner KGHM

Another source familiar with the FM Bank sale said state-owned BOS had been the buyer most likely to win the watchdog’s approval for the acquisition. KNF often sets out what sort of buyer it wants to see for Polish banks that come on to the market.

The second source said: “BOS had submitted an offer that actually envisaged that it would be Abris who would pay BOS for taking over FM Bank. So Abris let them go.”

Reuters was unable to reach a BOS spokesman on Monday, while Abris declined to provide a comment.

Abris had been planning an expansion push for FM bank which has now been abandoned because of the watchdog’s ruling. ($1 = 3.3924 zlotys) (Writing by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Christian Lowe and Jane Merriman)

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