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Capital Markets

RZB looks to raise catch-up cash with IPO

Standing in his office in Raffeisen's headquarters in Vienna, RZB International's chairman Herbert Stepic points with pride to a large world map dotted with small RZB flags showing the bank's outlets around the globe, including branches in China, Singapore and New York, and recently-opened subsidiaries in Albania and Belarus. His office is more like that of a Cecil Rhodes-type imperial pioneer than a banker, filled as it is with African sculptures and Chinese tapestries.

However, like many an expanding empire, RZB has problems persuading those at home to finance its expansion. Ten years ago, RZB led the push into eastern Europe. Now, it has lost ground to Bank Austria, UniCredito, Erste Bank and KBC. It is not even in the top five banks in the region in terms of total assets, though it is one of the leaders in number of countries it operates in. As one analyst puts it: "The network is quite huge, but it consists of only small banks in a lot of countries. None of them are that sexy."

This is slightly unfair – it does own Tatra Bank, one of the biggest in Slovakia.

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