LISBON (Reuters) - The head of Portugal’s largest listed bank, Millennium bcp (BCP.LS), which has just bought a small lender in Poland, ruled out further mergers and acquisitions, saying that its strategy is to become more agile and profitable.
Millennium bcp’s Polish unit, Bank Millennium (MILP.WA) agreed on Nov. 5 to buy Euro Bank from France’s Societe General for $484 million. Bank Millennium said at the time it expected further consolidation in Eastern Europe’s biggest banking sector.
But Miguel Maya, CEO of the Portuguese parent bank, made clear on Thursday that his bank was done with such deals, explaining that the rationale behind the Polish acquisition was to reach clients in specific parts of Poland rather than to grow in size.
“Dimension and consolidation are the two words crossed out in my book. None of them are among Millennium bcp’s priorities,” he told a banking conference. “Gaining agility and profitability, these are the two concerns.”
In their domestic market, Portugal’s five largest banks have an overall market share of 75-80 percent, which is a relatively high level of banking system consolidation.
Speaking at the same conference, Novo Banco CEO Antonio Ramalho said that level was adequate in terms of offering services and compared favorably to 55-60 percent for the top five banks in neighboring Spain, where there is more room for mergers and acquisitions.
Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Kirsten Donovan