Poland plans July IPOs of power group Enea, bank BGZ

WARSAW, May 28 (Reuters) - Poland plans to list shares in power group Enea and bank BGZ in July as its ambitious privatisation plans pick up steam, a deputy treasury minister said on Wednesday.

The government plans to sell new Enea shares in Warsaw bourse's largest initial public offering so far this year worth 2.5-3.0 billion zlotys ($1.16-$1.39 billion), Deputy Treasury Minister Joanna Schmid said in a television interview.

Poland will also float its 37 percent stake in bank BGZ, estimated to be worth several million zlotys. The bank's largest shareholder is Dutch Rabobank [RABN.UL].

"In July we'll have the IPOs of Enea and BGZ and in October the Warsaw Bourse," Schmid said.

The current government, which took office in November, has vowed to jumpstart privatisation that stalled under its conservative predecessors. It wants to raise $14 billion from sales of state stakes in 740 companies over the next four years.

In the first privatisation IPO since the debut of press distributor Ruch RUCH.WA in December 2007, Poland will sell new shares in chemicals producer Tarnow worth some $140 million this month. [ID:nL2891495]

Enea is Poland's first of four state-owned power groups slated for an IPO through a sale of new shares. The treasury originally planned to also list the largest, PGE, this year, but Schimd said its offer would take place next year. (Reporting by Marynia Kruk, writing by Chris Borowski; editing by Rory Channing)

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Poland mulls giving PGNiG stake in chemicals groups

Poland is considering raising its stake in gas distributor PGNiG PGNI.WA in exchange for stakes in state-controlled chemical companies Pulawy PULW.WA or Police PICE.WA, a deputy treasury minister said on Tuesday.

Poland currently has 85 percent of PGNiG but has said it will honour a previous government's commitment to give 13 percent to employees, which would take its stake below the 75 percent level necessary for certain strategic company decisions. "We are ready to raise PGNIG capital and rebuild our holding at the company above the 75 percent level," Deputy Treasury Minister Krzysztof Zuk said in a television interview.

"Higher synergies are visible in case of Police and Pulawy ... We are interested in extending the value chain and increasing margins."

The government controls 50.7 percent of Pulawy and 68.2 percent of Police, which are Poland's two largest fertiliser producers, both heavily dependent on natural gas delivered by PGNiG.

Zuk said the government was also considering other ways of increasing the state's stake in PGNiG, including swapping shares in another Polish power group.

By 0945 GMT, PGNiG shares had slipped 0.2 percent. They are down 17.7 percent this year, underperforming Warsaw's WIG20 index .WIG20, which has lost 15.6 percent. (Reporting by Patryk Wasilewski, editing by Will Waterman)
Source: reuters.com

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Poland optimistic on meeting euro inflation criteria in 2009 UPDATE

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland is increasingly optimistic it will meet inflation criteria for joining the euro in time to decide whether to opt in to the ERM-2 currency grid in 2009, its finance minister said on Monday.

Minister Jacek Rostowski has declined to rule out joining the pre-euro currency mechanism next year, saying that the country will need to be sure of meeting the criteria on price stability after a jump in recent months.

'I am more and more optimistic that we will meet the inflation criteria next year,' he told a business roundtable meeting organised by The Economist.

'We want to join ERM-2 when the economy will be extremely well-prepared to join the euro.'

Poland agreed to adopt the euro when it joined the European Union in 2004 and has free rein on when it enters ERM-2. It has to spend two years in the currency grid before applying to join the euro zone itself.

The current government, elected late last year, has stopped short of giving a timetable for adopting the single currency, saying only that it will focus on meeting the economic fitness tests required by the Maastricht treaty.

But analysts say that the centre-right cabinet may prove shy of applying to join ERM-2 soon due to the prospect of a general election in 2011 that would come just as its stay in the mechanism was reaching the two-year threshold.

The country of 38 million now fulfils criteria on debt and the budget deficit, and Central Bank Chief Economist Zbigniew Hockuba told Thomson Financial News last week it may well meet the conditions on inflation next year.

'I think that in the second half of this year inflation will start to fall and within a year or two we will meet the criterion, also in terms of sustainability of inflation,' he said.

Maastricht stipulates that applicants for the euro must have inflation which is no higher than 1.5 percentage points above the average of the three EU members with the lowest inflation rates.

With inflation rising steadily over the last year, to 4.1 percent in April, economists say price growth in Poland now hovers on the verge of meeting the criteria but that the relationship should worsen in the next few months.
Source:Piotr Skolimowski, Paweł Sobaczak

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