Austrian banking group Erste Bank AG aims to expand its position in Central and Eastern Europe and plans further acquisitions, first in Croatia and Hungary, but also in Slovenia, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported on Thursday, citing a spokesman for the group.
The spokesman noted, however, that there are no negotiations on possible takeovers underway at the moment. He added that there is no need to fear any hostile takeovers, which would not be suitable in the banking sector anyway.
Erste Bank Hungary Nyrt is Hungary's fifth biggest bank by total assets. It ended the first half of 2006 with IFRS after-tax profit of Ft 10.7 billion and total assets of Ft 1.687 billion. Profits rose 26.3% from the same period a year earlier and total assets rose 37.2% from twelve months earlier.
The Hungarian unit became one of the major local banks after its parent purchased Postabank Rt in a privatization deal for €396 million (Ft 101 billion at the time) at the end of 2003 and merged it into its existing Hungarian bank in the autumn of 2004.