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20 million euros in EBRD-loans for Raiffeisen International subsidiaries.

Loans to help small and medium-sized enterprises to grow

Raiffeisen International subsidiaries in Bulgaria (Raiffeisenbank(Bulgaria) EAD) and Croatia (Raiffeisenbank Austria dd, Croatia) willeach receive loans amounting to 10 million euros from the European Bankfor Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The funds will be madeavailable under the EU/EBRD SME Finance Facility to farmers andentrepreneurs based in rural areas in Bulgaria, and to small andmedium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in general in Croatia, giving them moreaccess to finance to expand their businesses. Both loans will becomplemented by grant support from the European Commission.

Kurt Geiger, EBRD Business Group Director for Financial Institutionssaid,"Raiffeisen International is an important partner for the EBRD inreaching out to private-sector business. Banking goups like RaiffeisenInternational are vehicles which enable us collectively to reach intothe heart of the entrepreneurial sector, helping to create jobs,especially in rural areas, and boost economic growth."

Herbert Stepic, CEO of Raiffeisen International, added,"Our long-timepartnership with the EBRD has resulted in numerous transactions andco-operation agreements that have all proved beneficial for the ultimatetarget groups, in most cases SMEs. We have thus both contributed a goodshare to promote private initiative and the growth of the economies allacross Central and Eastern Europe."

The EU/EBRD SME Finance Facility, a joint programme of the EuropeanCommission and the EBRD, supports the development and growth ofentrepreneurs by facilitating their access to finance. Under thisregional programme covering 11 countries, the EBRD has committed 1,091.5million euros to date, supported by 145.8 million euros in grantfinancing and technical assistance from the EC since the launch of theFacility in 1999.

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The EBRD, owned by 60 countries and two intergovernmental institutions,aims to foster the transition from centrally planned to market economiesin central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of IndependentStates. It is the largest investor in CEE and the Commonwealth ofIndependent States, having invested nearly€34 billion, and to date mobilised around a total €103 billion.

Raiffeisen International operates the largest banking networks in CEE.18 markets are covered by subsidiary banks, finance leasing companiesand two representative offices. Approximately 12.5 million customers areattended to through more than 2,900 business outlets. RaiffeisenInternational is a fully consolidated subsidiary of RaiffeisenZentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), which owns 70 per cent of the commonstock. The remaining 30 per cent is free float, the shares are traded onthe Vienna Stock Exchange. Raiffeisen International is the largestwestern banking group in Russia and the entire CIS.

For further information please contact Lars D. Hofer (+43-1-71 707-1930,,


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