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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 IFC will acquire a direct interest of 19% in Central Profit banka.

“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 seven per cent. Central Profit banka operates 27 branches and serves more than 60,000 retail and corporate customers. The bank holds a top position in several areas: it is the clear number one in payment services and one of the leading banks in the credit card sector.
Bank Austria Creditanstalt has maintained a presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina since December 2001. Its banking subsidiary HVB Bank Bosna i Hercegovina 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. Compared with the previous year, total assets of Bank Austria Creditanstalt’s operations in the region of South-East Europe more than doubled to about €4bn. Within a single year, the number of customers in SEE rose from 69,000 to about 540,000.