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French billionaire to set up new bank in Poland

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-10-29

French billionaire Romain Zaleski is to launch a new bank in Poland with a 450-million-euro investment from his investment group Carlo Tassara. The businessman hopes the new Alior Bank will have two-percent share of the market by 2012.

The Carlo Tassara investment group owned by French billionaire Romain Zaleski will launch a new bank in Poland next month backed with an investment of 450 million euros, Alior Bank said.

Alior Bank said it would formally begin business on November 17, starting with 80 branches and aiming to have 200 by 2012 as an initial staff of 1,300 rises to 3,300.

It said it was targeting a two-percent share of the retail banking market and four percent for business clients by 2012.

Bank officials said that now is a good time to launch, with the global financial crisis no obstacle.

"I would say, paradoxically, that this is a good time to open a new bank. The prospects of a recession are quite low," Alior head Wojciech Sobieraj told a news conference.

Sobieraj, a high-profile local banker, got the idea two years ago and eventually got Zaleski's backing.

The idea to set up a very modern bank, targetting a well educated urban clientele, took one year to work out, said Helene Zaleski, daughter of Romain Zalewski.

Romain Zaleski, of Polish origins, made his fortune in steel and energy in France and Italy.

Date created : 2008-10-29