JC Flowers in talks for Leumi Bank’s Romanian subsidiary
U.S. investment fund JC Flowers, founded by a former Goldman Sachs executive, has entered into talks with Israeli Leumi Bank for its Romanian subsidiary, according to unofficial sources quoted by local Ziarul Financiar.
JC Flowers took over the local subsidiary of Greek group Piraeus Bank in 2017, which it rebranded as First Bank Romania. The fund has been looking for other acquisition opportunities on the local market, aiming to create a top 10 bank. An outcome in the negotiations with Leumi is expected within one month, the Romanian daily announced.
Leumi Bank had previously reached an agreement with the London-based investment bank Argo in early 2018 to sell the Romanian subsidiary, but the deal went to a dead end after Romania's National Bank (BNR) raised objections. Under these circumstances, Leumi has been trying to find another buyer for the operations in Bucharest, which are too small to be held.
Although Leumi is the largest bank in Israel, Leumi Bank Romania is a small bank that ranked 27th out of 35 banks in Romania at the end of 2017, with assets of only EUR 250 million and a market share of 0.32%.
(Photo source: Facebook / Bank Leumi Romania)