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Hungary

Best bank
OTP Best debt house
BNP Paribas

Best equities house
Citigroup

Best M&A house
JPMorgan

Best local partner
Concorde Securities

When a bank dominates its domestic market to the extent that OTP does, one might expect a trend towards complacency and stagnation.

However, OTP enjoyed another record year in 2003, apparently because it is no longer content merely to be a domestic champion but now has ambitions to become a serious regional player. Its international acquisition strategy, after the feat of beating Erste Bank in the bidding for Bulgarian bank DSK, continued in the past 12 months with the acquisition of RoBank in Romania for $48 million. The bank is also bidding for Jubanka in Serbia.

The bank continues to be highly profitable. In the first quarter of 2004, it achieved net income of Ft35.1 billion ($169 million), an increase of 85%. ?This is not only unprecedented in the history of OTP but also in the Hungarian banking sector,? says CEO Zoltan Speder. Regionally, too, the bank seems to be a record-breaker ? its return on equity of 43.9% in the first quarter of 2004 is the highest Euromoney has come across in central and eastern Europe, as it was in last year?s awards.

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