Raiffeisen starts Kazakh bank after M&A fruitless


Austrian bank Raiffeisen International will start a new banking business in Kazakhstan next year after months of fruitless attempts to take over a business in the oil-rich central Asian country.

“Due to its economic potential and politically stable environment, Kazakhstan is an attractive market”, said CEO Herbert Stepic in a statement. “We have been observing this market for a long time and we believe that now is a good time to make this step.”

Raiffeisen and other international banks had hoped for a chance to buy assets in the country as its banks were hit severly by the global liquidity squeeze that began last year. But Stepic said Kazakh banks’ owners were asking too much on price. He has not revealed which banks he had been in talks about or how far those talks had gone.

A Raiffeisen spokesman said the “main priority” of the bank was now the launch of the new operation, but that it would still continue to look at opportunities if and when they come up. Raiffeisen sold a 7.7% stake in Kazakh Bank TuranAlem in 2006 because it did not see an opportunity to increase the shareholding. It has owned a leasing business in Kazakhstan since 2005. Raiffeisen shares traded down 2.3% at €70.80 by 0827 GMT, as the DJ European Banks index dropped 1.9%. (Reuters)


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