RBI prepares to exit in some countries in Eastern Europe. Focus on Romania remains

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If risks in the region become too high and the profits too low, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is ready to pull back. The Austrian financial institution estimated that has lost more than EUR 500 million last year because of the crisis over Ukraine and Russia.

According to RBI’s Chief Executive Officer Karl Sevelda, the bank is reviewing all of its markets and businesses and will decide about disposals and cutbacks within six months, Sevelda told Raiffeisen-Zeitung in an interview.

“I fully sympathize if the Landesbanks and the primary Raiffeisen banks are a bit alarmed — what you’re reading about Russia is indeed alarming. I can assure our shareholders that we’ll continue to proceed in a risk-adequate way,” Sevelda said.

To return to profit, Raiffeisen will revisit all of its 15 markets across eastern Europe and curb or get rid of underperformers. Sevelda said the company is focusing on Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, dropping Russia and Poland from a list of “focus countries” it published in 2013.

“We haven’t decided yet, but we’re looking at all markets and all business areas and will make our decisions in the first half of 2015,” Sevelda also said.

 

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