Vienna and New York,19 June 2007– Raiffeisen Investment AG and Lazard Ltd (NYSE: LAZ) today announced a joint cooperation agreement for merger and acquisition (M&A) advisory in Russia and the Central and EasternEuropean (CEE) region. The cooperation between one of the CEE region’s top M&A advisors, Raiffeisen Investment, and Lazard, one of the world’s preeminent financial advisory firms, will provide domestic, international and cross-border expertise within the Russian and CEE region, and with the rest of the world.
Raiffeisen Investment has a strong track record and success story in M&Atransactions and privatisations in the CEE region. It is the M&Aadvisory business of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), thecentral institution of Austria’s largest banking group. Within this framework, Raiffeisen Investment – a 100% subsidiary of Raiffeisen Centrobank (RCB) – works closely together with the capital markets teams of RCB and the listed Raiffeisen International. With Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, the RZB group operates the largest banking network in all 18 Central and Eastern European countries.
Lazard is a preeminent, global financial services firm, advisingcorporations and countries on transactions in Europe, North, South andCentral America, Asia and Australia.
Martin Schwedler, a member of the Raiffeisen Investment Board ofManagement, commented:“The cooperation agreement with Lazard will bring
our clients a new quality in M&A advice in the dynamic CEE Region aswell as Russia. Lazard is the gold standard in the industry outside ofthis region, and together with Raiffeisen Investment, we can provideclients worldwide access to advisory in local, regional and globalmarkets.”
Charles G. Ward III, President of Lazard,commented:“This agreement reinforces Lazard’s strategy to expand our financial advisory business, and our commitment to provide premium service to clients across industries and geographies. Raiffeisen Investment, with an excellent regional network and long-standing client relationships in all of its markets, is recognised as a trusted and professional advisor. As such, it is the ideal partner for us to extend our reach in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the fast-growing Russian market."
The two firms will closely coordinate all of their M&A advisoryactivities in these countries, from joint targeting and origination ofnew projects to joint execution of transactions. The cooperation will becoordinated by a Joint Cooperation Committee, made up of four executivesfrom each firm. The Committee will drive strategic business developmentand marketing, as well as allocation of resources and staffing of jointprojects.
Raiffeisen and Lazard plan to host a press conference in Vienna todiscuss the cooperation agreement at 9:30 a.m. CET on June 19, 2007.Hosting the press conference from Raiffeisen will be WalterRothensteiner, Chairman of the Board, RZB, Gerhard Grund, Board Member,Raiffeisen Centrobank and Heinz Sernetz and Martin Schwedler, BoardMembers, Raiffeisen Investment, and from Lazard will be Charles G. WardIII, President and Ernst Fassbender, co-head of Investment Banking,Germany. The press conference can be accessed via a live audio and videoweb cast available athttp://www.raiffeisen-investment.tvor Lazard’s website atwww.lazard.com.For information regarding the press conference, please call: DieterRiedlinger at Hochegger Financial Relations. A replay of the web castwill be available beginning at 2 p.m. CET on June 19, 2007 for 24 hoursvia the same website links.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains“forward-looking statements.” In some cases, you can identify these statements by forward-looking words such as “may”, “might”, “will”, “should”, “expect”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “predict”, “potential” or “continue”, and the negative of these terms and other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our belief regarding future results, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside ofour control. There are important factors that could cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results, level of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.
These factors include, but are not limited to, those discussed in ourAnnual Report on Form 10-K under Item 1A“Risk Factors,” and also disclosed from time to time in reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K including the following:
RZB Group and Raiffeisen Investment
Raiffeisen Investment AG is Emerging Europe''s leading Mergers&Acquisition (M&A) advisory firm. In Raiffeisen Investment’s fast-growing core region Austria and Central and Eastern Europe the company consistently ranks among the top M&A and Privatisation Advisorsproviding expert advice to local and international corporations,governments, strategic and financial investors as well as supra-nationalorganisations such as the World Bank, EBRD and EU. Raiffeisen Investmentis particularly well placed to guide Western European investors throughcross-border acquisitions in Central& Eastern Europe. RaiffeisenInvestment AG is a 100% subsidiary of Raiffeisen Centrobank (RCB).Raiffeisen Centrobank is a 100% subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank(RZB).
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) is the central institution ofthe Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country''s largest bankinggroup. It is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and alsoconsiders Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. RZB isthe only Austrian bank with a global network of business units reachingall important finance centres around the globe. Via listed subsidiaryRaiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, RZB operates the largestbanking network in CEE. Eighteen markets are covered by subsidiarybanks, finance leasing companies and two representative offices.Approximately 12.5 million customers are attended to through more than2,900 business outlets.
Lazard, one of the world''s preeminent financial advisory and assetmanagement firms, operates from 29 cities across 16 countries in NorthAmerica, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. With origins datingback to 1848, the firm provides advice on mergers and acquisitions,restructuring and capital raising, as well as asset management servicesto corporations, partnerships, institutions, governments, andindividuals.
Please address enquiries to the following:
For Raiffeisen Investment AG:
Heinz Sernetz, WolfgangPutschek, Martin Schwedler
Board of Management
Tel: +43 1 504 69 87