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Czech Republic

Best bank
Ceska Sporitelna Best debt house
Deutsche Bank

Best equities house
Patria Finance

Best M&A house

Best local partner
Wood & Co

Both the market leaders in the Czech Republic, CSOB and Ceska Sporitelna, have enjoyed a strong performance over the past 12 months. CSOB had a return on equity of 31% in 2003, it forged a leading position for itself in the growing leasing market, and its brokerage division, Patria, grew market share in equities ? for which it won our best equities house award.

Ceska Sporitelna, however, has had the better year. Its net profit grew by 31% in 2003, to Kc7.6 billion ($290 million), which is an all-time high for the bank. Although its return on equity was lower in 2003 than in 2002 ? at 23.7% ? it grew to 31.4% in the first quarter of this year. Its return on assets in the same period was 1.9%, the highest it has been for three years.

The bank has achieved rapid growth while improving its risk profile. Net loans to customers almost doubled between 2002 and 2003. Growth has been particularly rapid in the mortgage sector, where the bank is the clear leader with a 32% market share.

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