Raiffeisen keeps options open in Ukraine
VIENNA Oct 15 (Reuters) - Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank International is keeping its options open for business in Ukraine amid reports it had been approached by local investors about buying its Aval unit, Ukraine's fourth-biggest bank.
"This is a market rumour that we will not comment on. The fact is that we repeatedly get inquiries and offers given our strong position," a spokesman said.
Asked about prospects for a sale of the unit it bought in 2005, he said: "In principle we routinely review all our business units. We are committed to the eastern Europe region."
Austrian peer Erste Group last year sold its Ukrainian business, while UniCredit, central and eastern Europe's (CEE) biggest lender, is mulling an exit from Ukraine.
Raiffeisen, the CEE region's second-biggest bank, is reviewing ways to shore up its balance sheet. Its options include a rights issue, reducing assets and boosting profitability by cutting costs.
Active in 18 CEE markets, Raiffeisen has more than 3 million customers and 820 business outlets in Ukraine, where it has a 3.8 billion euro loan book. (Reporting by Angelika Gruber, Writing by Michael Shields,; Editing by Mark Potter)
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