Vienna, June 14, 2004 – 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 Euro 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 CEE. RZB is the central institution of the Austrian
Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country's most powerful banking group.
RZB also considers Central and Eastern Europe as its home market and via
Raiffeisen International operates a network of 15 subsidiary banks in as
many markets of the region, with more than 800 banking outlets. 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 Central and Eastern Europe.
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.