Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) and its exchange-listed subsidiary Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG disclosed already on 22 February 2010 that they were taking a closer look at a possible merger of the two companies as a possible strategic option. Today, the boards of management of the two companies confirm that they are continuing to intensively pursue this merger, which would bring RZB’s principal business areas — above all, its business with Austrian and international corporate customers — together with those of Raiffeisen International.
The merged bank would be strengthened in its position as one of the leading universal banks in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) through the combination of Raiffeisen International’s broad distribution network in the CEE region and RZB’s comprehensive product portfolio. The bank would remain listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange and would be active primarily in the areas of retail (in CEE), corporate and investment banking.
«We want to take this step in order to ensure that we can reinforce and expand our excellent position in CEE and Austria in the years and decades to come,» said Walter Rothensteiner, Chairman of RZB’s Board of Management and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Raiffeisen International. «Our home market will also provide good growth perspectives in the future, and through this step, the Raiffeisen Banking Group would secure its important role as core shareholder.»
«A merger would place us in an even better position to meet the needs of our more than 15 million customers by providing state-of-the-art product offerings,» added Herbert Stepic, CEO of Raiffeisen International and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management of RZB. «One of the key arguments for this merger lies in the improved access to capital and money markets that the merged bank would enjoy in comparison to Raiffeisen International’s current status. This step would also contribute to Raiffeisen International’s risk diversification and would make it possible to further optimize risk management for the Group in the future.»
No resolutions as yet from the boards of management, the supervisory boards or the shareholders’ general meetings
Despite the clear avowal that the two companies’ boards of management have made with regard to the merger plans, the path to a merger is complex and a number of open issues must be resolved before any final implementation. Consequently, there are as yet no resolutions from the requisite bodies, such as the boards of management and the supervisory boards.
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) is the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group. It is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and also considers Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. RZB is the only Austrian bank with a global network of business units reaching all important finance centres around the globe. It is also present in Asia with branches and representative offices in nine locations.
Via listed subsidiary Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, RZB operates one of the largest banking networks in CEE, covering 17 markets across the region through subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other financial service providers. The group’s 56,500 employees service more than 15 million customers through over 3,000 business outlets.