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Public relations section
Increase of equity to support Raiffeisen International’s dynamic growth in Central and Eastern Europe
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed agreements with Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), each to subscribe € 100 million to a capital increase of RZB’s subsidiary Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG (Raiffeisen International). The IFC and EBRD investments correspond to a share of 4 per cent each in Raiffeisen International’s equity. The € 200 million in new capital will support the growth of Raiffeisen International’s business in Central and Eastern Europe. As previously announced, Raiffeisen International is continuing preparations for an IPO, which are expected to be completed within the first six months of 2005, in order to be ready to respond flexibly should market conditions prove favorable for an IPO.
IFC Executive Vice President Peter Woicke commented, “Raiffeisen International contributed significantly to the development of the banking industry in Central and Eastern Europe and continues to do so. There is a strong strategic fit between Raiffeisen’s and IFC’s priorities in the region. Our investment will support Raiffeisen’s expansion in markets that continue to be underserved. It will help Raiffeisen scale up financing activities for small and medium enterprises and the housing sector, which are key to promoting sustainable economic growth in Central and Eastern Europe.”
Noreen Doyle, First Vice President of the EBRD, said, “The investments will support Raiffeisen International’s ability to invest in early transition markets and to introduce new products, particularly in SME and retail banking, mortgage lending, and leasing. The EBRD’s mission is to help attract such investment – and ultimately provide the people of the region better access to finance.”
Walter Rothensteiner, Chairman of the Board of Management of RZB and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Raiffeisen International, stated, “This partnership is a milestone for RZB. So far, we have achieved dynamic growth in Central and Eastern Europe with internally generated funds. With the involvement of IFC and the EBRD, we take an important step in our strategy of opening Raiffeisen International to other investors.”
“We welcome and appreciate the equity participations of IFC and the EBRD, our long-time partners in earlier projects. Their support is a valuable contribution to further dynamic growth of Raiffeisen International in the region”, said Herbert Stepic, Deputy Chairman of RZB’s Board of Management and Chairman of Raiffeisen International's Board of Management.
Raiffeisen International is the holding company for RZB's subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe and was owned 100 percent by RZB prior to the capital increase. RZB is the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country's most powerful banking group. A leading corporate and investment bank in Austria, RZB considers Central and Eastern Europe as its home market. Through Raiffeisen International, it operates a network of 15 subsidiary banks with more than 800 banking outlets, as well as two representative offices in 16 markets of the region.
IFC’s strategy in Europe’s emerging financial markets is threefold. First, IFC supports the development of mortgage and small business finance through banks and leasing companies. Second, IFC works to strengthen local financial institutions, including institutions to be privatized, to develop banking services, and to increase financing available to local businesses. And finally, in the more developed markets, IFC actively promotes the growth of efficient capital markets. By supporting RZB’s network in the region, IFC is making considerable contributions in all of these areas.
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.
The EBRD, owned by 60 governments and two intergovernmental institutions, aims to foster the transition from centrally planned to market economies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.