Raiffeisen International Remains on Growth Path in 2006

28. März 2007, 00:00

Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding (RI), the arm of Austrias Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich (RZB) in charge of...

Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding (RI), the arm of Austrias Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich (RZB) in charge of international operations, propelled bottomline performance to another all-time high.

Profit, less tax and minorities, soared 55 per cent year-on-year to EUR 594 million, while earnings per share reached EUR 4.17, up from EUR 2.79 the year before, the group said in a press release on Wednesday.

All financial statements have been prepared under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

In a Wednesday statement, RI CEO Herbert Stepic was quoted in the statement as saying that success witnessed in 2006 was best illustrated in the profit item, which saw a sixfold increase over a four-year timespan.

"Additionally, we have taken a decisive step into the future with the acquisition of Impexbank. As the largest international banking group in Russia and in the entire CIS, we are excellently positioned in the markets with the highest growth potential," Stepic said.

As reported, RI bought Russias Impexbank last year and is due to finalise its merger with another Russia-based banking asset, Raiffeisenbank Austria, to create the largest foreign lender in Russia. The merger procedure for the bank, to be named Raiffeisenbank, will be finalised by year-end.

The move is in line with RIs strategy to strengthen positions in the CIS and Southeastern Europe, both high-growth markets, Stepic said. The two regions account for 65 per cent of RIs pre-tax growth, he added. In addition, the 2006 acquisition of eBanka of the Czech Republic gave RI a better footing on the local market.

The asset restructuring activities, performed in 2006, also included divestitures. RI sold Raiffeisenbank Ukraine in a EUR 486 million deal and a minority stake in Kazakh Bank TuranAlem for EUR 102 million. Net proceeds from these sales, less one-off effects, came in at EUR 588 million.

In the 12 months to December 2006, the bank managed to augment its customer numbers to 12.1 million, a hefty increase from 9.7 million as of end-2005. The pace of growth was due to the monthly attraction of of 150,000 new clients a month and the consolidation of Impexbank and eBanka clients to the total.

The larger customer numbers translated into an expansion of the banks portfolio to EUR 35 billion, up 41.8 per cent on the year. Client deposits, meanwhile, added 33.2 per cent on hte year to EUR 33.2 billion. RI CFO Martin Gruell was quoted in the statement as saying that corporate customers remain the cash cow for the group.

"In Russia, we already rank third in consumer deposits and fourth in consumer loans," he said.

The positive developments were in place in the balance sheet total as well. As of December 31, 2006, it stood a EUR 55.9 billion, a 37.9-per-cent year-on-year increase. The performance sustains a trend of balance sheet increases. Over the past four years, the balance sheet total was up 400 per cent.

During the same reporting period, revenue from operations was up 52 per cent on the year to EUR 2,867.7 million, while trading profit was up a solid 73.1 per cent on the year to EUR 174.8 million.

Cost streamlining initiatives kept operating expenditures growth at a rate slower than operating revenues to attain operating profit of EUR 1.174 billion. This represents a growth of 62 per cent on the year.

The year also brought expansion to the groups sales network. RI opened 178 - a record, number of branch offices last year. The balance from acquisitions and sales of banking assets in terms of branch offices was positive, at 405.

Thus, Raiffeisen International sales network numbered 2,848 business outlets in 16 countries of presence.

"No other international bank in the region offers such a far-reaching and closely-knit sales network. We open three to four branches per week," Stepic said.

RI management hopes this year to sustain the streak of successful business performances. The group has put its full-year consolidated profit forecast at EUR 700 million.

Expectations are that through 2009, RI will achieve a 20-per-cent increase in its balance sheet total, where the CIS will have the biggest contribution.

In cooperation with and under the responsibility of Eastbusiness, the business information service for Central and Eastern Europe

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