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OTP Bank: Deputy CEO comments on CEE expansion strategy

20.1.2006 9:20
Autor: KBC/Patria

According to Hungarian newspaper Figyelo, Deputy CEO Zoltan Speder has stated that OTP Bank will strive to remain competitive in its acquisition strategy but will not change its earlier valuation approach. While he confirmed that expansion through acquisitions remains important, it is not the only trigger for bank's long-term growth. Moreover, he stated that revenues from existing markets are capable of growing over 10% per year. Speder said that OTP is targeting banks worth EUR 800-1,000m. He stated that OTP's main focus was Central and Eastern Europe but that more favorable pricing conditions might be available in Turkey.

Speder stated that the bank was not included in the group of institutions, that the Croatian central bank would want Unicredito to sell Splitska Banka to. The CEO also said that OTP would not give up on Romania's privatization of CEC. Meanwhile, Romanian PM Calin Tariceanu said that the Romanian government is assessing a possible postponement of the sale of its fourth-largest bank CEC, to get a better price, but has not yet taken any decision.

In our view, the market ought to find some reassurance in the emphasis, placed by the Deputy CEO, on the importance of valuation in OTP Bank's acquisition approach, even if it means a transaction is less likely. We rate OTP Bank as a Buy and it remains our top pick in the CEE banking sector.


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