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Poland: Insurer To Go Private To Prevent Collapse

Warsaw, 29 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Poland's state-owned insurance company, PZU, which controls 70 percent of the country's insurance market, plans to sell shares into private hands to prevent financial collapse.

PZU President Jan Monkiewicz Monday said two companies, one Polish and the other a Polish-foreign joint venture, have offered to buy a 34 percent stake in the company. He refused to name the companies.

Monkiewicz said partial privatization will strengthen the company in the face of growing competition from 50 smaller insurance companies now operating in Poland.

Monkiewicz said the deal should be completed by later this month or in November. He would not confirm reports that losses for this year would amount to about $264 million because of the disastrous flood which inundated southwestern Poland in July. The insurance company had to pay claims to owners of thousands of damaged cars, houses and apartments.

Poland's telecommunication company, assessed to be worth $20 billion, is to be privatized next year.