UPDATE 2-France's BNP joins battle for Rabobank's Polish arm

jeudi 7 novembre 2013 13h00

* BNP says placed non-binding offer for Rabobank's BGZ

* Sources say Banco Santander, UniCredit also in the running

* Reports have said BNP bidding 1 bln euros for BGZ (Adds analyst comment, background, shares)

By Adrian Krajewski and Lionel Laurent

WARSAW/PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) - France's BNP Paribas has joined the bidding for the Polish arm of Dutch lender Rabobank, aiming to strengthen its position in eastern Europe's largest economy in a deal that could be worth about 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion).

France's biggest lender said on Thursday it had made a non-binding bid for Bank BGZ, confirming media reports and joining Italy's UniCredit, which said last month it had entered a preliminary offer for Poland's No. 11 bank by assets.

Rabobank is reviewing options for Bank BGZ and has not officially put it up for sale. But analysts think it may cash in after U.S. and European regulators fined it $1 billion in the Libor rate rigging scandal.

Poland's banking industry is undergoing a period of change, with some troubled foreign banks selling businesses there to boost their capital positions, but others keen to strengthen their foothold in an economy which has outperformed much of the euro zone in recent years.

BNP has said it is looking to expand into faster-growing markets and buying BGZ could yield benefits from integrating it with the group's existing corporate and investment-banking activities in Poland.   Suite...