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Mergers and acquisitions: Banks still an attractive play

Growth highest in Russia and the CIS.

Walter Demel, RZB

"At present, we see no indications for a significant slackening of the long-term growth trend"
Walter Demel, RZB

Central and eastern Europe looks set to remain a prime hunting ground for international banks seeking high-growth opportunities, based on the findings of the latest regional banking survey published by Austria’s RZB Group. In a clear illustration of the growth of the industry, the study by Raiffeisen Research showed that the total balance sheets of banks in the region surpassed the €1 trillion mark in 2006, thanks to continued strong economic growth. According to RZB the aggregated total reached €1.087 trillion, up 28% on the €849 billion figure for 2005, when growth was a record-breaking 31.2%. Walter Demel, senior analyst at RZB in Vienna and co-author of the study, expects the strong growth pattern to be maintained. "At present, we see no indications for a significant slackening of the long-term growth trend," he says. The balance sheet total for the region is forecast to more than double by 2011 to €2.5 trillion, according to Demel, and then double again to reach €5 trillion by 2106 – equating to an average annual growth rate of 17%.

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