Serbia and its banking market have developed well in recent years and still show potential, the chief executive of Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank, Johann Strobl said when asked whether the lender might be interested in buying Komercijalna Banka.
Serbia wants to privatize the Balkan country’s second-largest lender as part of a program between Belgrade and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Austrian lender, which operates across Eastern Europe from the Czech Republic to Russia and down to the Balkans is considering acquisitions to expand in its main markets.
It holds assets of 2.5 billion euro ($2.82 billion), or 1.8% of its total, in Serbia.
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“You cannot say anything regarding Komercijalna now… you can only say something when the owners decide if there is a (sale) process, and what the process will look like,” Strobl said at a news conference in Vienna.
“The country itself and its banking market are attractive.”
Earlier, Serbian Finance Minister, Sinisa Mali said regarding the sale of Komercijalna Banka: “The tender for selection of a strategic partner of Komercijalna Banka will be launched in May and the entire procedure should have been completed by the year-end. I expect at least two good offers and the most important thing is for the process to be transparent. In the meantime, Lazard (adviser in the bank’s sale) will prepare the documentation and present the state with the best options. I really don’t know at the moment who the potential partners could be.”
The Serbian government has a 42% stake in Komercijalna Banka, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 24.4%, and the International Finance Corporation IFC, which is part of the World Bank, has 10%.
This post is also available in: Italiano