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Bank Austria Creditanstalt has signed an agreement to buy Central Profit banka (CPB), a Bosnian bank. The closing of the transaction is planned for September 2003. The seller is Sarajevo Privatisation Venture (SPV). SPV is a joint venture of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and BP Invest Consult, an international consultancy firm. At the same time, it has been agreed that the hat die BA-CaIFC will acquire a direct interest of IFC 19% in Central Profit bankahalten.

“With the purchase of Central Profit banka we are further expanding our excellent position in South-East Europe. Following the acquisitions in Croatia and Bulgaria in the past  year, we are now among the top four banks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, too, says Friedrich Kadrnoska, the managing board member at Bank Austria Creditanstalt who is responsible for operations in Central and Eastern Europe. With total assets of €186mn, Central Profit banka is the fourth largest bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina . Its market share is 7%.

Bank Austria Creditanstalt has maintained a presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina since December 2001. Its banking subsidiary HVB Bank Bosna i Herzcegovina was established in September 2002. At present, HVB Bank has two branches in Sarajevo and Mostar. Bank Austria Creditanstalt plans to merge its two banking subsidiaries HVB Bank and Central Profit banka in the course of 2004.

The acquisition of Central Profit banka is part of the targeted growth strategy pursued by Bank Austria Creditanstalt in the region of South-East Europe. In the past year, Bank Austria Creditanstalt consistently continued its expansion in the region: in spring 2002, it acquired Splitska Banka, the third-largest Croatian bank. In October 2002, Bank Austria Creditanstalt purchased Biochim, the fourth-largest bank in Bulgaria. Together with its local banking subsidiary, Bank Austria Creditanstalt now has a market share of 7% in Bulgaria. In December 2001, Bank Austria Creditanstalt opened its banking subsidiary in Serbia and Montenegro. Most recently, in March 2003, the bank opened a representative office in Macedonia