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Reports: SocGen eyes sale of Polish, Belgian units

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Reports: SocGen eyes sale of Polish, Belgian units

Société Générale SA is said to be considering selling its private banking unit in Belgium and Polish unit Euro Bank SA.

The sale process for the French banking group's private banking unit in Belgium is at early stages and some potential buyers circulating include Crédit Agricole Group's Indosuez, Banque Transatlantique SA, KBC Group NV, Belfius Banque SA, Degroof Petercam and Puilaetco Dewaay, sources told L'Echo.

Separately, SocGen plans to exit from retail banking activities in Poland as a result of the highly fragmented and competitive banking market in Poland, where low interest rates have put pressure on lender's margins and many players struggling to compete with large lenders, Reuters reported, citing two local investment bankers in Warsaw.

One of the sources said SocGen's decision to withdraw from the eastern European country is because it has not achieved its strategic goal of gaining first to third place in every market. Euro Bank, which has assets of 14 billion zlotys, is the 17th-largest Polish lender, according to the June 12 report.

A SocGen spokesman declined to comment regarding the potential sale.

Several bankers speculate that Warsaw-based PKO Bank Polski SA and Crédit Agricole, which previously expressed desire to expand their operations, could be interested in acquiring Euro Bank, Reuters added.

In April, BNP Paribas SA's Bank BGZ BNP Paribas SA agreed to acquire the core banking operations of Raiffeisen Bank International AG's Polish unit, while Banco Santander SA's Polish unit agreed in December 2017 to acquire Deutsche Bank Polska SA's retail and private banking businesses from Deutsche Bank AG.

As of June 12, US$1 was equivalent to 3.63 Polish zlotys.