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ZAGREB (Croatia), April 20 (SeeNews) - Croatia's anti-trust regulator, AZTN, said on Thursday it has approved the acquisition of 100% of Societe Generale Splitska banka by the local unit of Hungary's OTP Group, OTP Banka Hrvatska.
OTP Banka will indirectly gain control over several units of Splitska banka, including its leasing, real estate and insurance businesses, AZTN said in a statement.
The Croatian Competition Agency explained that following the acquisition a new banking entity will emerge with a market share of over 10%.
"It will be the fourth largest bank in Croatia, which will generate additional competitive pressure on the other three strong market participants - Zagrebacka, Privredna and Erste banka", AZTN noted. Increased competitive pressure could lead to a drop in the average interest rate on the market, resulting in lower interest rates for end users throughout Croatia, the regulator added.
The process of integration of Splitska banka into OTP will begin in the middle of 2018, and is planned to be completed by end of 2019.
Earlier this month, Croatia's central bank said it has given its consent to OTP Banka Hrvatska to acquire Splitska banka from Societe Generale.
Societe Generale Splitska banka is a universal bank and the fifth biggest player on the Croatian market. OTP Bank has been present in Croatia since 2005 and has had continuously profitable operations.