Austrian Raiffeisen Zentralbank opened new representative office inStockholm.
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) is about to embark on a majorexpansion of its business activities in Scandinavia. On the occasion ofthe opening of RZB’s representative office in the Swedish capital Stockholm, Karl Sevelda, RZB Board Member for Corporate Customers, explained the reasons for stepping up the group''s activities on this market:"Scandinavia is a very attractive and open economic area.Especially on account of its proximity to Central and Eastern Europewhere it already maintains intensive economic relations, it is a logicalstep that we now also offer a broader range of services there. Togetherwith our Scandinavian customers– both present and future – we want to fully utilize the potential for economic growth in the dynamic region of Central and Eastern Europe."
For RZB, there is consistency in the step to expand business activitiesin Scandinavia:"Especially because we have built up a unique universalbanking network in Central and Eastern Europe, our customers in the restof Europe can look to us as the best possible partner for all activitiesin this region," said Sevelda. RZB pursues the goal of refining itsprofile in Scandinavia as the top service-provider for a region with topgrowth perspectives"right outside our front door". While the grossdomestic product of the eurozone hardly grew in real terms last year,that of Central Europe went up by 5 per cent, that of SoutheasternEurope by 7 per cent, and that of Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine by 8per cent on average.
In fact, Raiffeisen is the best example for the significance thatCentral and Eastern Europe (CEE) can have for the development of acompany. In only twenty years’ time, the RZB Group has built up one of the largest banking networks in CEE, consisting of banks and leasing companies with nearly 2,900 business outlets, numerous specialized companies and two representative offices in 18 markets of the region.
In the Scandinavian region, RZB will primarily address those customerswho are beginning to access the many new sales markets in CEE. Onaccount of its unique position, RZB is not a competitor for banks inScandinavia."Our goal is not the local banking business in Scandinavia.Rather, the service that we want to provide is to support customers whengoing to CEE and Austria, because that is where we have our homemarkets," said Sevelda in describing the strategy,"It is our expertise,as well as our award-winning products and services in Central andEastern Europe, we make available to customers."
RZB already has intensive business contacts with Scandinavia. 150 of thetop enterprises there have already become customers, of which a solid 50come from Sweden."We began to go east very early, long before the fallof the Iron Curtain, which gave us a decisive competitive edge. When themarkets began to open, we were able to offer our customers the solutionsfor accessing them. Now, the RZB Group has a network in CEE that offerscustomers the same excellent level of services as in Vienna," Seveldaconcluded.
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Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) is thecentral institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, thecountry''s largest banking group. It is a leading corporate andinvestment bank in Austria and also considers Central and Eastern Europe(CEE) as its home market. RZB is the only Austrian bank with a globalnetwork of business units reaching all important finance centres aroundthe globe. It is also present in Asia via its branches andrepresentative offices.
Via listed subsidiary Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, RZBoperates one of the leading banking networks in CEE. 18 markets arecovered by subsidiary banks, finance leasing companies and tworepresentative offices. Over 12 million customers are attended tothrough almost 2,900 business outlets.
RZB''s balance-sheet total amounted to€ 115.6 billion at year-end 2006, 23 per cent more than the year before. Pre-tax profit more than doubled to € 1,882 million, including a one-off effect of 596 million euros, resulting from the sale of Raiffeisenbank Ukraine and the minority share in Bank TuranAlem inKazakhstan.
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