New Investors for Meritum Bank

WCP COOPERATIEF U.A., an affiliate of the private equity fund Wolfensohn Capital Partners, L.P.  (WCP) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have agreed to make an equity investment in Meritum Bank. The new investors will contribute approximately 28 million Euro, which together with an additional investment from  existing shareholder, Innova Capital, will provide Meritum  with approximately 34 million Euro of fresh capital. Meritum will use the new funding equity to expand its activities, complete its restructuring process and develop new products. The transaction agreements were signed on December 7th, 2010 and the deal is expected to close shortly after receipt of regulatory approvals.

The EBRD’s financial involvement is in line with its mandate to support bank services directed to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which Meritum currently offers.

„Meritum Bank has two new, prestigious investors who will support the bank not only financially but also through wide know-how and experience gained in several investments in the region of Central Europe and worldwide. We hope these new investors will contribute to the dynamic development of the bank, the implementation of new products and development of its sales network“ – said Krzysztof Kulig, a Partner in Innova Capital, President of the Supervisory Board of Meritum Bank.

Closing the recapitalization process of the Bank and gaining two new strong partners will  enable us to increase the operation scale significantly. Currently, we have one of the most attractive offers on the market, directed to individual customers and small companies. We have implemented several  progressive technological solutions, which have ensured our competitive  edge in the market “ – says Piotr Urbańczyk President of the Board of Managers of Meritum Bank.

After the completion of the recapitalization process, Meritum Bank’s equity will be increased from currently PLN 195 million to PLN 330 million.

We are pleased to partner with the Wolfensohn Capital Partners, L.P. private equity fund to support the continuing growth of Meritum Bank following the significant restructuring undertaken by Innova and the bank’s management team since the original acquisition in 2007.  The bank’s business model is innovative, focused on consumer finance, but also on lending to micro and small businesses, which is one of EBRD’s key priorities” said Jean Marc Peterschmitt, the EBRD’s Director, Financial Institutions.

“Meritum Bank has great potential. The Bank has an advanced technological platform supported by a first-class management team. We believe this equity infusion will allow the Bank to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Polish market – a market which has experienced strong secular growth in financial services but that, by various measures, remains relatively under-penetrated.“ – said Cesare Calari, Managing Director of Wolfensohn Fund Management and a former Vice President of the World Bank.

Additional information

Meritum Bank is a bank with €149 million of total assets, ranked 36th in Poland. Meritum Bank was acquired in 2007 by Innova Capital, which currently holds 95% shares in the bank. Meritum specialises in consumer finance and micro-SME loans.

Wolfensohn Capital Partners, L.P. is a private investment fund specializing in growth equity investments in emerging markets. The fund has a particular expertise in the financial services sector and is led by James D. Wolfensohn, a former President of the World Bank (1995-2005) with a distinguished career as an international investment banker, listed company board member and public servant. The investment in Meritum will be made by WCP Cooperatief U.A., an affiliate of Wolfensohn Capital Partners, L.P.

The EBRD, owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, is supporting the development of market economies and democracies in countries from central Europe to central Asia.

Innova Capital is one of the first and most dynamic private equity companies in Central Europe. Within 16 years of its activity Innova has completed 40 investments, investing approximately 500 million Euro. Innova aims to build European market leaders that can compete with the best in their fields worldwide, focused especially on TMT, financial services, construction, automotive and energy sectors. Innova has raised almost EUR 900 million across its five investment funds. The Investors in the Innova funds are renowned institutions based in Western Europe and the United States.