Raiffeisen-Leasing International (RLI) — the holding company of the Raiffeisen Leasing network in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), in which Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG holds a 75 per cent stake and Raiffeisen-Leasing, Austria, the balance, definitively became one of the most important regional players during the 2007 business year. RLI emulated its parent group Raiffeisen International by also posting record results in 2007. In comparison with 2006, the volume of new business increased by 54 per cent to EUR 2,995 million. With growth in new business of slightly more than EUR 1 billion, RLI was able to post the highest growth of all Western leasing companies active in the CEE region. Assets rose by 49 per cent to EUR 4,610 million. «This development reflects the continuously increasing demand for leasing products in the region. We are very well positioned above all in those markets where there is still a substantial amount of catching-up to be done,» commented Peter Lennkh, the member of the Managing Board of Raiffeisen International responsible for leasing business.
Profit after tax increased by more than half
RLI was able to increase its after-tax results by more than a half in 2007 from EUR 34.0 million to EUR 51.8 million. RLI Managing Director Michael Hackl remarked, «The Central Europe region still remains the company's mainstay, contributing 55 per cent to new business and the company's pre-tax result.» Expressed as absolute figures, the Central Europe region contributed just under EUR 1.7 billion to new business and approximately EUR 36 million to the company’s profit before tax. The second largest contribution, at 30 per cent each, came from Southeastern Europe, and the CIS contributed 15 per cent to both segments.
Vehicle leasing the most important business sector by a considerable margin
The vehicle leasing segment contributed the highest proportion of new business volume with 69 per cent. Within this segment, personal vehicles — 43 per cent — dominate ahead of freight vehicles with 33 per cent. However, the capital investment and real estate segments have also shown marked increases in volume. Capital investment leases rose by 20 per cent to EUR 593 million, and real estate volumes rose by 11 per cent to EUR 337 million.
Excellent strategic position enhanced
With the commencement of operative business in Moldova a few months ago, RLI now operates 17 subsidiaries in 16 markets. The broadest market coverage of all leasing businesses active in the region was attained thanks to purely organic growth, i.e. without acquiring other companies. The company is the market leader in Albania, Belarus and Ukraine. In a further six markets, namely in Poland, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria, the company is one of the top 3 leasing companies in the country. Moreover, it is the leading international leasing company in Russia.
International Vendor Finance on the increase
Among the sales channels banking sales and vendor sales, International Vendor Finance has shown particularly encouraging growth. In International Vendor Finance, a leasing company and a vendor (which can be either a dealer or a producer) offer tailor-made products together. RLI’s Managing Director Dieter Scheidl sees this sophisticated method of sales finance as beneficial for both sides:
«International Vendor Finance presents a typical win-win situation. The customer is happy to enjoy the financing of his purchase price, whilst the vendor is happy to receive the amount for payment straightaway.» RLI is able to considerably smooth the path for vendors to enter the market, thanks to its extensive market experience.
Continued dynamic growth
RLI expects the largest prospects for growth in the near future to remain in Southeastern Europe and the CIS, based on strong GDP-growth and the fact that leasing is still not used as frequent as in other countries. Romania and Bulgaria's EU accession has already heralded a considerable increase in the importance of leasing financing above all in these two countries. However, demand is also set to remain high in Central Europe, especially where sophisticated financing solutions are required in the real estate and renewal energy segments.
Raiffeisen International operates one of the largest banking networks in CEE. 17 markets of Europe’s growth region are covered by subsidiary banks, finance leasing companies and a number of other financial service providers. Over 14 million customers are served by more than 3,000 business outlets. Raiffeisen International is a fully consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Цsterreich AG (RZB), which owns 68.5 per cent of the common stock. The balance is free float, the shares are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group.