November 30, 2018 / 12:28 PM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-Austrian bank Raiffeisen has enough capital to consider acquisitions

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VIENNA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International has enough capital to consider acquisitions and is interested in the Czech Republic, Serbia and other East European markets, its chief executive said on Friday.

Raiffeisen, which operates across Eastern Europe, was doing good business in Russia, its biggest market, and Ukraine, Chief Executive Johann Strobl said, adding that the bank still planned to increase its annual dividend.

He told a gathering of business journalists that the bank’s branches in Ukraine were operating normally despite a decision to impose martial law in some region’s of the country after Russia fired on and captured three Ukrainian navy boats.

Asked about possible acquisitions, Strobl said the bank had “a capital ratio at a level where we also have the capacity to look at one thing or another” following its sale of its Polish unit Raiffeisen Bank Polska.

He said the bank was interested in expanding in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia.

“We see that a round of consolidation is once again under way here,” he said of Eastern Europe.

“We know that there were several nationalisations where evidently there is the obligation to reduce that (stake) or the state’s stake will be privatised,” Strobl said without naming individual banks. (Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich Writing by Francois Murphy Editing by Jane Merriman and Edmund Blair)

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