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Belgium OKs KBC Bank Purchase Of Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria

 |  March 6, 2022

Bulgaria’s competition regulator said that it gave the green light to Belgium-based KBC Bank, a unit of financial group KBC, to acquire a 100% direct interest in Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria and indirect control of the target company’s wholly-owned units Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria, Raiffeisen Asset Management (Bulgaria), Raiffeisen Insurance Broker, and Raiffeisen Service.

Other market participants have larger or similar market positions and are able to exert effective competitive pressure on the merged banking group, the antitrust body added. Austrian Raiffeisenbank Group continues operate subsidiaries in over 30 countries including Japan, the United States, and most of Eastern and Central Europe.

According to the CPC, the planned deal does not have the potential to impact competitiveness and incentives to compete for both the merging companies and their competitors in ways that are unfavourable to consumers. The new merged group will have neither the ability nor incentive to limit effective competition in vertically affected markets, the regulator also said.

In November, the KBC group said that KBC Bank agreed to acquire Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria, comprising the Bulgarian banking operations of Austria-based Raiffeisen Bank International, for 1.015 billion euro ($1.11 billion) in cash.

Bulgaria’s banking system is competitive, with 24 banks in operation including both local organizations and EU subsidiaries. The top 5 banks in Bulgaria accounted for 66% of all operations in 2020.

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