PE firms set for new Polish telecoms foray

Enterprise Investors and Bancroft Group are among the bidders to acquire a majority interest in Polish communications business Telbank.

The National Bank of Poland has confirmed that it is planning to sell a majority stake in Bankowe Przedsiebiorstwo Telekomunikacyjne (Telbank). A number of private equity bidders are among the potential buyers.

 

Polish private equity leader Enterprise Investors and UK-based Central European investor Bancroft Group are the financial bidders for the 74 per cent stake in Telbank, which provides telecommunications services for the Polish banking and financial sector. The stake is likely to be worth up to $100m, according to The Deal.

 

Enterprise Investors has confirmed its interest in the business, adding that it will make a further statement in due course. Enterprise Investors managing partner and telecoms specialist Robert Manz is leading the firm’s acquisition team. Bancroft Group, which manages the $100m Eastern Europe Fund targeting telecommunications, media, engineering and export-oriented manufacturing opportunities in the former eastern bloc, declined to comment. 

 

Two trade buyers also submitted bids for the business prior to the November 22 deadline. They are Tel-Energo, owned by Polish energy network PSE, and Netia Holdings. The National Bank of Poland, which wants to wrap up the deal before the end of the year, said it could decide on the successful bidder before the end of November.

 

The Polish government is said to favour a strategic buyer for the business as it attempts to create a viable competitor to dominant operator Telekomunikacja Polska, which is 47.5 per cent owned by a consortium comprised of France Télécom and Kulczyk Holding.