POLAND - The smallest pension fund in the Polish market, Polsat OFE, is "likely to be sold", IPE has learnt.

Polish media reported the media tycoon, Zygmut Solorz-Zak, and founder of Polsat might sell the PLN1.3bn (€390m) fund to one of the other pension companies and sources have now confirmed to IPE "it is likely that Polsat will be sold".

While Polsat could have potentially grown its assets by 44% in 2006 - which was well above the market average of 35% - the fund only grew 17.7%, and this was below the average of 20.1%, according to data collected by research company analizy.

Should the fund not make the minimum rate of return at the end of the year the pension fund company - according to the Polish pension fund law - will have to pay into the fund with its own assets.

"There are two routes of action for Polsat: Either grow the business by acquiring another fund or sell the pension fund - I think the sale is more likely," the source explained.

Polsat did not want to comment on the sale rumours and pension funds were unwilling to say whether they would be interested in purchasing Polsat.

But in early 2007 Polsat itself was rumoured to be making a takeover bid for the then smallest fund in the market, Skarbiec-Emerytura which later was bought by Ergo-Hestia, a subsidiary of Dutch insurer AEGON. (See earlier IPE story: Aegon to buy another Polish pension fund)

Since the start of the Polish second pillar  in 2000, several consolidations have taken place and Polsat itself acquired the pension business of Belgian financial company KBC in 2004. (See earlier IPE article: KBC sells Polish pension fund to PTE Polsat)

There are currently 15 funds in the Polish market with combined assets of PLN139.4bn down from PLN140bn at year-end 2007

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email julie.henderson@ipe.com