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Bulgaria

Best bank
Bulbank Best equities house
Bulbrokers

Bulbank, the winner of the best bank in Bulgaria award, had a very good year in 2003, with its financials improving across the board. Net profit grew by 18%, net fee and commission income grew by 9%, operating income was up 12.8%, return on equity rose to 18%, while the non-performing loan ratio fell from 4.6% in 2002 to 3.1% in 2003.

Through a partnership with Pioneer Investments, which is also owned by UniCredit, Bulbank is the largest distributor of mutual funds in the country, with a 55% market share.

In 2004, the bank plans to expand its leasing business, which it bought in February 2004. It is also launching internet banking and a retail loan centre.

Bulbrokers, which takes Bulgaria?s best equities house award, is a leading brokerage. It has advised the government on a number of privatizations, including the sale of 32% of Novotel Plovidv and 30% of the Bulgarian river fleet, and it won a mandate together with United Bulgarian Bank to advise on the sale of minority stakes in BTC and Bulgartabac. It is one of the few brokers in central and eastern Europe to offer online equity trading to clients.

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