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Public relations section
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, signed agreements today with Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB), to provide € 200 million to support the growth of its fully owned subsidiary Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG (Raiffeisen International) in Central and Eastern Europe. Half of IFC’s investment takes the form of long term loans to Raiffeisen International’s subsidiaries in Russia, Romania, Belarus and Ukraine. The other half is an option to invest equity in Raiffeisen International, if needed for the further expansion of the group.
“We are proud partners of RZB and pleased to support one of the most successful banking networks in the region. RZB has brought banking services to many underserved markets, often when no other foreign banks were willing to invest, and it is IFC's mandate to support the development of banking services in such countries.RZB’s growth and results in the region speak for themselves”, commented Peter Woicke, IFC’s Executive Vice President.
“We welcome and appreciate the continued support of IFC, our long-time partner in many earlier projects. Today marks an important step towards our strategy of opening Raiffeisen International to other investors”, said Walter Rothensteiner, Chairman of RZB’s Board of Management and President of Raiffeisen International’s Supervisory Board.
Edward Nassim, IFC's Director for Central and Eastern Europe added: “Our investment in Raiffeisen International provides an important stimulus for the banking sector in the region, especially in Eastern Europe, where Raiffeisen is showing the strongest commitment of any international bank.”
“The outlook for growth and profits in the region continues to be excellent, and we are well positioned to meet the challenges in all of our key markets. The IFC’s support is a valuable contribution to ensure 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, 100 per cent owned by Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB), Vienna, is the holding company for RZB’s most important subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). RZB is the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country's most powerful banking group. RZB also considers CEE as its home market and via Raiffeisen International 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. In September 2003, Financial Times magazine The Banker has awarded the prestigious prize "Bank of the Year 2003" to RZB in Austria and its network banks in Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and Slovakia. In January 2004, the US magazine Global Finance awarded the title "Best Trade Finance Bank in Central and Eastern Europe" to RZB and its network banks in CEE.
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 increase financing available to local businesses. And finally, in the more developed markets, IFC actively promotes the development 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 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 2003, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of 2003 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.