NEWS: Polish bank sell-off attracts PR interest

Financial PR agencies are lining up this week to win an estimated pounds 200,000 contract from Poland’s latest privatisation programme.

Financial PR agencies are lining up this week to win an estimated pounds

200,000 contract from Poland’s latest privatisation programme.



Three consultancies have been shortlisted from an initial list of nine

to pitch for a campaign to promote the sell-off of Bank Handlowy next

year.



Scheduled for privatisation in the first half of 1997, Bank Handlowy is

Poland’s leading commercial bank. During the first six months of this

year it posted a 41.7 per cent rise in profits to 390 million Zlotys

(pounds 86.6 million).



The privatisation is being supported by the UK government’s Know-How

Fund which is overseeing the pitching process in London, together with

directors from the bank. The whole process is being co-ordinated by

Wieslaw Kaczmarek, Poland’s deputy Treasury minister.



Shortlisted agencies, which include at least one UK firm, are bidding

for the work as part of three consortia, led by investment banks

offering a package of investment, legal and marketing advice. The timing

and method of the sell-off has not been decided, although a retail

offering would be targeted at Polish investors.



Poland is likely to offer financial PR firms further opportunities as

the government presses ahead with its privatisation drive. Since the

start of market reforms in 1990 almost 4,500 out of 8,500 state-owned

companies have been sold.



Six other banks have been earmarked for privatisation, along with LOT,

the national airline, the Katowice steel mill and Orbis tourism company.



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