As expected, the sell-off of Polands Bank BPH name and network, attracted many and renowned banking heavyweights. By the Wednesday deadline, more than a dozen banks filed indicative offers, sources close to the deal said Thursday.

A source said that Raiffeisen International of Austria was among the bidders. Polish media speculated Tuesday that Societe Generale of France and KBC Bank of Belgium have also joined the bidders list.

Another source close to the deal added as suitors Frances Credit-Agricole, Polish bank Getin, UK HSBC and Portugals BCP, which already runs operations in Poland via lender Millennium.

The tender is necessitated to allow Italys UniCredit, BPHs parent, to complete its merger with HVB on Polish turf. UniCredit pledged last year to sell 40 per cent of BPHs branch network and its brand name to avoid market concentration on merger of Pekao and BPH, Polands second- and third-largest banks, in 2007.

Both banks became UniCredits property following its own merger with HVB last year. The Polish merger would create Central Europes biggest bank with assets worth EUR 14.7 billion.

Analysts estimates put the value of BPH name and branch network at USD 2.2 billion.