March 13, 2019 / 10:31 AM / a year ago

Austria's Raiffeisen does not rule out interest in Serbia's Komercijalna Banka

FILE PHOTO: Raiffeisen Bank International CEO Johann Strobl addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

VIENNA (Reuters) - Serbia and its banking market have developed well in recent years and still show potential, the chief executive of Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank said when asked whether the lender might be interested in buying Komercijalna Banka.

Serbia wants to privatize the Balkan country’s second-largest lender as part of a program between Belgrade and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Austrian lender, which operates across eastern Europe from the Czech Republic to Russia and down to the Balkans is considering acquisitions to expand in its main markets.

It holds assets of 2.5 billion euros ($2.82 billion), or 1.8 percent of its total, in Serbia.

“You cannot say anything regarding Komercijalna now... you can only say something when the owners decide if there is a (sale) process, and what the process will look like,” Johann Strobl said at a news conference in Vienna.

“The country itself and its banking market are attractive.”

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, editing by Louise Heavens

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