Russia's Sberbank to buy eastern Europe lender

8th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia's biggest lender Sberbank signed Thursday a deal to buy the eastern European operations of Austria's OeVAG for up to 645 million euros ($907 million), the Austrian bank said.

The acquisition of Volksbank International AG (VBI) will give state-owned Sberbank almost 300 branches in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Ukraine.

The purchase price was set at between 585 and 645 million euros. Sberbank is buying 51 percent from OeVAG and 24.5 percent each from Germany's DZ Bank and Populaire Banque Caisse d'Epargne (BPCE) of France.

Volksbank Romania is not a part of the transaction, which is due to be finalised by the end of the year.

For OeVAG, which failed a European Union "stress test" on how it could handle a serious financial shock, the deal will put it on a more solid financial footing, it said.

OeVAG is Austria's fourth-biggest bank behind Bank Austria, Erste Bank and Raiffeisen Bank, and received one billion euros in aid as part of a 100-billion-euro sector bailout in the global financial crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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