Enterprise Investors sells stake in Lukas

Credit Agricole has established its position in the Central European market with the $262.5m acquisition of a 75 per cent stake in Lukas SA.

Credit Agricole has acquired a 75 per cent stake in Lukas SA, the Polish consumer credit company. The French bank paid out $262.5m (E281m) for the stake. The acquisition is the largest ever private equity transaction in Central Europe.

Credit Agricole bought the shares from Polish Private Equity Funds I & II, which are managed by Enterprise Investors and two individuals. Mariusz Lukasiewicz, founder of Lukas SA, will retain a minority shareholding in the company. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

Lukas Group consists of Lukas SA and its subsidiary Lukas Bank. Lukas Bank is a retail bank with a network of approximately 100 branches in Poland. The Group has a 25 per cent share of the Polish consumer credit market through a multi-channel distribution strategy using advanced technologies. The group has also developed partnerships with leading retail groups and operates through a network of 30,000 retail outlets in Poland. Lukas employes 1,700 staff who at the end of 2000 managed total assets of E550m.

Dariusz Proncznuk, president of Lukas and partner at Enterprise Investors, said: “This transaction ends three years of fruitful co-operation between Enterprise Investors and Lukas Group. During this period the combination of strategic advice and funding from Enterprise Investors and managerial qualities of Lucas have allowed the company to significantly grow its scope of activities and shareholder value. The transaction offers management and employees of Lukas the means required to meet their ambitions and expand into the international arena.”

Giles Gramat, managing director in charge of international development, said: “The acquisition of Lukas immediately gives Credit Agricole a leading position in Central Europe’s largest market and allows it to envisage robust development in the region with the help of a quality management team. In line with the logic of its earlier investments abroad, Credit Agricole will emphasise partnerships with other entities of the Credit Agricole Group.”

Credit Suisse First Boston advised Polish Private Equity Funds I & II and the two individual investors on the transaction.