September 8, 2017 / 5:22 PM / in a year

Polish state-run bank PKO buys local KBC mutual fund

WARSAW, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Poland’s biggest bank, PKO BP , has agreed to buy mutual fund company KBC TFI from Belgium’s KBC Asset Management for an undisclosed sum, the state-run lender said on Friday.

PKO BP said it would merge KBC TFI with its PKO TFI fund, which is Poland’s biggest retail mutual fund with 23.2 billion zloty ($6.6 billion) of assets under management. KBC TFI has 4 billion zloty of assets.

The funds will be merged after the completion of the transaction, which is expected in the first quarter of 2018.

“PKO BP group’s strategy assumes development both organically and thorough mergers and acquisitions. We’re closely watching what is going on on the market and trying to take good use of opportunities,” PKO BP Chief Executive Officer Zbigniew Jagiello said in a statement.

A PKO BP spokeswoman declined to comment on the value of the transaction.

Earlier this year, state-controlled insurer PZU and development fund PFR bought a controlling stake in Poland’s second largest lender Bank Pekao SA from Italian UniCredit.

The move was seen by critics as an attempt to strengthen the ruling party Law and Justice’s (PiS) grip over the state and the economy. ($1 = 3.5270 zlotys) (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; editing by David Clarke)

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