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Slovak Republic

Best bank
VUB Best debt house
CSFB

Best equities house
ING

Best M&A house
JPMorgan

It has been a tougher year for Slovakian banks than for their neighbours. Although banks in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary have been recording good profits, in the Slovak Republic, operating profits have been down for the biggest three banks. They blame this on a fall in retail deposits, as people transfer funds to asset management companies; and on narrowing loan spreads.

However, VUB, the winner of the best bank award, managed to increase net profit, unlike competitors Tatra Bank and Slovenska Sporitelna, partly through cost-cutting and restructuring. The bank managed to reduce operating costs by 8%, mainly through a 6% reduction in headcount.

It also performed well in corporate loans. It was lead arranger for a $120 million loan for Eurotel Bratislava, the largest Slovakian corporate loan in the past 12 months according to Dealogic. It managed to increase its corporate loan book by 20%, and also increased its SME business ? a trend it says should continue this year.

CSFB wins the best debt house award for arranging two bond deals for the Slovak Republic in 2003, for a total of e750 million.

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