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EI realises Polish investment

French retail bank, Credit Agricole has agreed to acquire a 75 per cent stake in Lukas, a Polish leader in consumer credit. The sale provides an exit for Enterprise Investors, whose Polish Private Equity Funds I & II held a 28 per cent stake in the company.

The stake was acquired in May 1997 for $15 million.

The transaction size is $262.5 million, one of the largest deals ever signed by a private equity fund in Central Europe, valuing Lukas Group at $350 million. The transaction is subject to obtaining usual regulatory approvals.

Two of the private investors in the company have also sold their shares. Mariusz Lukasiewicz, the founder of the group, will remain a minority shareholder.

Lukas Group consists of Lukas and its subsidiary, Lukas Bank. The group currently holds around 25 per cent of the Polish consumer credit market through a multi-channel distribution strategy using advanced technologies. Lukas has also developed partnerships with leading retail groups and operates through a network of 30,000 retail outlets in Poland.

The acquisition allows Sofinco, Credit Agricole’s consumer finance subsidiary, to add Poland to its European network.

EI funds have exited 37 investments. The company plans to invest up to $300 million of its newly raised Polish enterprise Fund IV within the next four years.