Western Europe's best bank transformation 2018: Bawag
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Western Europe's best bank transformation 2018: Bawag

Awards for Excellence 2018

A decade ago Bawag was on the brink of collapse. Many in the industry doubted its survival and would have laughed at the prospect of it surpassing the performance of all the other large Austrian lenders.

Today it is Austria’s most profitable bank, with a return on equity in the mid-teens, a cost-to-income ratio in the early forties and profits before tax that rose above half a billion euros in 2017. It is the deserved winner of this year’s award for western Europe’s best bank transformation.

After a recapitalization and purchase from the Austrian Trade Union Federation in 2007 by Cerberus and later GoldenTree, Bawag rapidly turned away from its previous focus on central and eastern Europe. It reformed governance and sold non-core holdings ranging from a piano maker, a television company and even a Palestinian casino. It also worked to integrate Bawag more closely with the former postal savings bank, PSK, with which it had merged in the early 2000s.

Anas Abuzaakouk, Bawag chief executive

The culmination was Bawag’s sale of a 40% stake in an IPO in October last year – Austria’s largest-ever – which saw Cerberus’s stake drop to a minority.

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