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Croatia

Best bank
Privredna bank Zagreb Best debt house
Raiffeisenbank

Best M&A house
JPMorgan

As usual, Privredna bank Zagreb and Zagrebacka Banka are extremely close contenders for the title of best bank. Both have performed strongly in 2003. Zagrebacka can boast a higher profit, and a dominance in asset management market share, through subsidiary ZB Invest. It posted 15% growth in its corporate loan book, and itself managed to raise a e270 million syndicated loan, the biggest loan of any regional financial institution.

However, this year PBZ wins the award. Its total assets are growing faster ? by about 30% in 2003. Its return on equity, at 19%, is higher than Zagrebacka?s 18%. The bank also has the best performing pension fund on the market, and its own equity won an award for the best-performing financial share on the stock market. It also won the award for best bank from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

In bonds, the banks are neck and neck, having each lead managed the same three issues, for the sovereign and for Podravka, according to Dealogic. The same source suggests both banks are also close contenders in the loan market, although PBZ, unlike Zagrebacka, was recently a lead arranger for a $250 million multi-currency loan for INA, one of the biggest loans on the market in the past 12 months.

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