Hungary agrees to take over Budapest Bank from General Electric for undisclosed sum

Industries Associated Press

Hungary's economy minister says the state has signed a preliminary deal to buy Budapest Bank from General Electric by June 30.

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Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said Thursday said the price of the eighth-largest bank in Hungary by total assets would be revealed later.

The move comes as the government tries to increase domestic ownership in the banking sector. In July, Hungary paid 55 million euros ($68 million) to Germany's Bayerische Landesbank for a 99.9 percent stake in the Hungarian Foreign Trade Bank.

Varga said that with the latest purchase, the government wants to boost lending and increase competition among banks and "put Hungary's economic growth on more stable footing."

Since 2010, the government has levied special taxes on several parts of economy, mostly foreign-owned companies in banking, telecommunications and retail.