Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2002: Central and Eastern Europe
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
Awards for Excellence 2002
Best bank: HVB/Bank Austria
The past 12 months have produced yet more M&A activity in central and eastern Europe as the key regional banks have improved their portfolio of countries, consolidated assets or expanded market share when already present. As most of the biggest banks in each country have been sold to a foreign owner already or are not on privatization lists, KBC's April purchase of a minority stake in Slovenia's Nova Ljubljanska bank and UniCredito's majority stake in Croatia's Zagrebacka Banca purchased in March look impressive. In the best bank contest, congratulations go in particular to KBC and UniCredito for both having a stake in two of Euromoney's best banks in central and eastern Europe by country. But for the biggest universal network banks present in the most countries, the award was a choice between Raiffeisenbank (RZB) and Bank Austria.
The decision was tough: RZB operates in 13 CEE countries, Bank Austria in 15. RZB-owned banks also win two country awards, in Slovakia and Yugoslavia and is the main challenger to the winner in Romania. Bank Austria does not take any country awards but is third, fourth or fifth biggest bank in many of the biggest markets.