Vienna, October 21, 2004—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 Österreich 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
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.
For further information regarding RZB and Raiffeisen International,
please contact Michael Palzer (+431-71 707-1504, email@example.com).
For further information regarding IFC, please contact Georg Schmidt
(+1-202) 458 2934, firstname.lastname@example.org).
For further information regarding the EBRD, please contact Axel
Reiserer in London
(+44 20) 7338 7753, email@example.com).