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    Raiffeisen International with record results

    06.04.2005
     

    Pre-tax profit plus 24 per cent, ROE exceeds 22 per cent, balance-sheet total plus 44 per cent. Almost 2 million new customers.

    The group managed by Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG (RI), a fully consolidated subsidiary of Vienna-based Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB), earned profit before tax of € 342.2 million in the business year 2004. This is a record result and an increase of € 65.5 million or 23.7 per cent compared with year-end 2003. Profit after tax amounted to € 271.3 million (€ 227.4 million in 2003). All figures are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

    "Raiffeisen International is well-positioned in all important growth markets of Central and Eastern Europe. This result proves that we continue to be on the right track", says Herbert Stepic, CEO of RI and Deputy Chairman of RZB. The Group's balance-sheet total amounted to € 28.9 billion at year-end 2004, an increase of 44.1 per cent. Four fifths thereof relate to organic growth. This development makes RI one of the banking groups with the strongest growth in the region.

    Improvement of operating results

    Operating income increased by € 280.5 million or 27.6 per cent to € 1,298.8 million. In spite of high investments, a tight cost management kept the increase of general administrative expenses well below the growth of balance-sheet total: € 823.3 million was spent for staff expenses and other administrative outlay in 2004, which corresponds to an increase of one fourth compared with 2003.

    Resulting profit from operating activities grew by 32.2 per cent to € 475.5 million. The cost/income ratio, which expresses general administrative expenses in relation to operating income, improved from 64.7 to 63.4 per cent.

    Equity base significantly improved, solid core capital ratio

    On the reporting date, equity inclusive of consolidated profit and minority interests came to a total of € 2,177 million (2003: € 1,379 million). That translates into a year-on-year increase of 57.9 per cent. Return on equity (ROE) before tax, measuring profit before tax as a percentage of average equity, came to 22.3 per cent, compared with 24.1 per cent in 2003. "The reason for the reduction in ROE was the substantial increase in the Group’s equity base, which included ploughed-back profit from 2003 in addition to the proceeds from capital increases of about € 500 million", explained Martin Grüll, RI's CFO.

    The Group's core capital ratio came to 10.1 per cent (2003: 9.4 per cent).

    Most extensive market coverage in CEE

    Via its subsidiary banks, RI is active in 15 Central and Eastern European markets. That is the most extensive coverage among banks operating in the region. In seven markets, the so called Network Banks rank among the local top-three banks. In 2004, the network was again expanded by an acquisition, namely Albanian Banka e Kursimeve, renamed Raiffeisen Bank Sh. a. in October, which significantly boosted the Group's presence in Southeastern Europe. Stepic: "The markets of Southeastern Europe are still in a rather early stage of development, compared with the new EU-member states. There is a huge potential to tap and we want make good use of it." RI's subsidiary banks in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine are the leading international banks in their respective countries.

    Via its sub-group Raiffeisen-Leasing International, RI operates 14 leasing companies in 12 countries of the region, servicing corporate customers and retail customers. Further specialized companies are active in the sectors of asset management and pension funds.

    56 per cent more customers, major reinforcement in the sales system

    Following the addition of 194 outlets to the network, the Group had 916 business outlets in CEE at year-end 2004. In total, almost 23,000 employees serve approximately 5 million retail customers, 56 per cent more than at year-end 2003.

    Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not for publication or distribution to United States persons or to publications with a general circulation in the United States. These materials are not an offer for sale of the securities in the United States. No public offering of the securities will be made in the United States. The securities referred to herein have not been and will not be registered under the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold in the United States without registration thereunder or pursuant to an available exemption therefrom.

    You can access the web-version of RI's annual report on http://ar2004.ri.co.at. The English printed version will be available on or about 19 April and can be subscribed to on that site.

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    E-mail: press.pr@raiffeisen.bg

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