Austrian bank OeVAG sells EEurope arm to Sberbank

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Austrian bank OeVAG said it had agreed to sell its eastern European arm, Volksbank International, to Sberbank of Russia for an undisclosed sum later this year.

Oesterreichische Volksbanken-AG said in a statement late on Thursday that it had reached a "commercial understanding with Sberbank on the major terms of the sale of Volksbank International."

The two sides said they expected to close the deal -- which would not include Volksbank International's biggest subsidiary, VB Romania -- by the end of this year.

OeVAG hold a 51-percent stake in Volksbank International, with the remaineder held by BPCE of France and DZ Bank and WGZ Bank of Germany.

The sale received the go-ahead from the other shareholders, OeVAG said.

At the end of last year, Volksbank International had total assets of 13.731 billion euros ($19.5 billion) and a total net loss of 22.37 million euros,

It employs a workforce of 5,362 in 547 branches in 10 different countries.

The loss-making Romanian subsidiary is the biggest, employing a workforce of 1,373.

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

Earlier this year, OeVAG, which is not listed on the stockmarket, bundled all of its banking activities into its existing Investkreditbank unit to streamline its structure.

© 2011 AFP

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