PRAGUE (Reuters) – Czech investor Pavel Tykac, who owns the Sev.en Energy group, wants to increase his stake in MONETA Money Bank and help build a strong domestic lender, he was quoted as saying in an interview with published on Thursday.

Tykac holds a stake of more than 5% in MONETA, the country’s sixth biggest lender. MONETA’s largest shareholder, investment group PPF, has sought to take a controlling stake via a merger with its own financial assets.

Tykac’s stake-building comes as many investors speculate about a renewed PPF bid after MONETA shareholders in June rejected a share issue to help finance the tie-up with PPF assets, which included rival lender Air Bank and other units.

“I would very much like to build a strong Czech bank that will finance strong Czech industry,” he told Seznam Zpravy.

“Therefore I would like to build an even more significant position than we have.”

Tykac was also quoted as saying that in the “long run” he would aim for a 20% stake. He said he did not want to threaten the position of PPF, which holds nearly 30% in MONETA, and that he liked its idea of building a strong Czech bank.

A spokesperson for Tykac did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tykac was also quoted as saying he was bothered by banks not willing to finance traditional energy or steel production amid a green shift in financing.

MONETA competes in a market dominated by foreign-owned banks. PPF has sought to build a powerhouse in retail and small-business lending.

MONETA’s chief has said a deal with PPF is still a goal.

Asked if he would support another vote on a tie-up between MONETA and PPF’s assets, Tykac said: “Probably yes.”

“If it made even a little sense, then yes,” he added. “I like the idea of a tie-up with Air Bank; of course it would depend on the concrete conditions.”

Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Potter

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