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Raiffeisen?s Eastern European unit to go public

Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG is planning an IPO to sell 20%-30% of the stocks of its Eastern European division later in H1, wire service Bloomberg said quoting an article in stock market gazette Börse-Zeitung. CEO Walter Rothensteiner did not wish to specify the exact date of the IPO. The transaction is expected to yield Euro 1 billion in new capital, he said. According to Rothensteiner, Raiffeisen Zentralbank?s after-tax profit doubled from 2003 to 2004, totaling Euro 4340 million last year, while earnings before taxes increased by 80% to Euro 620 million. The CEO expects profit to grow at a relatively slower rate this year.