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Report: PKO hopes to meet 2018 profit expectations, plans London branch opening

PKO Bank Polski SA expects it will be able to meet analysts' forecasts regarding its 2018 net profit, Reuters reported March 19, citing the lender's CEO Zbigniew Jagiello.

According to Thomson Reuters Eikon data, analysts see the lender's 2018 net earnings grow by almost 11% to 3.44 billion Polish zlotys, despite the Polish central bank indicating that interest rates in the country may go up no sooner than 2019 or even 2020.

Jagiello told the newswire that the lender, which posted a net profit of 3.10 billion zlotys for 2017, is performing well in a stable interest-rate environment and that it should be able to meet analysts' predictions for 2018 if there are no one-off events.

He declined to comment on earlier rumors regarding a potential merger with Bank Pekao SA, which were denied by both banks, but he expects consolidation in the Polish banking sector to continue. Jagiello reportedly believes that there is enough room on the Polish market for five to seven financial groups, with banks providing a full range of services, while the remaining lenders will offer niche services.

Jagiello also said that the lender plans to open a corporate branch in London, similar to those already existing in the Czech Republic and in Germany, Reuters said. The branch will become operational by the end of 2018, Rzeczpospolita reported March 19, also citing the executive.

As of March 19, US$1 was equivalent to 3.42 Polish zlotys.