BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire IKB’s leasing operations in Romania for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, which will need to be approved by Romanian competition authorities, is expected to close in the third quarter of the year.

IKB Leasing Romania was founded in 2008, and specialises in agricultural leasing. It reported a €329m pre-tax profit for 2016, the last financial year for which results are available.

Charlotte Dennery, chief executive of BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions said: “This new acquisition allows us to strengthen our teams of experts in Romania to support even more customers and partners in a region where leasing-type financial solutions are in increasing demand.”

Germany’s IKB group has been divesting its leasing business over the past year, selling most of the businesses to PEAC, as it refocuses on the bigger-customer segment. The sale of the Romanian unit leaves IKB Leasing Slovakia, which reported a profit loss of €201m in 2016, as the group’s only remaining leasing subsidiary.

The acquisition will see Leasing Solutions expand its presence in a fast-growing eastern European leasing markets, at a time when banking groups on the continent are showing increased interest in the region.

Austria’s Erste Group has teamed up with DLL to tap into what it said was a €17bn market, in a partnership that could see some DLL entities come under the Erste  umbrella.

Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, meanwhile, said in February it would increasingly decentralise operations for its Mediocredito Italiano leasing unit, creating regional hubs in central and south-eastern Europe.

Earlier this month, Societe Generale was reported to be in discussions with Italy’s UniCredit to merge operations, in a move that would give the French banking group access to a number of markets where UniCredit operates a leasing offer, including the Baltics and former Yugoslavia.