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Erste Bank: Issuing 58.95m New Shares to Finance BCR Acquisition

10.1.2006 8:38
Autor: Tomáš Gatěk, Patria Finance

In a press release, Erste Bank has announced the launch of a capital increase of 58.95m new shares, equating to an increase of up to 24.2% of the existing share capital. In addition, an over-allotment option of up to 5.89m new shares has been granted to the underwriters. Excluding this option and based on yesterday's closing price of EUR 46.6 (ex dividend of EUR 0.55 per share for 2005), the equity offering is expected to raise EUR 2.75bn. Die Erste Osterreichische Spar-Casse Privatstiftung, with a 32.2% holding, intends to maintain its holding above 30%, whilst the savings banks, with a 7.0% stake, have also indicated their intention to exercise their subscription rights for new shares. Taking into account a full take-up by the savings banks, the new share issue would raise EUR 2.55bn.

The new issue will be conducted as an at-market rights offering with pre-emptive rights to existing shareholders, who will be entitled to 4 new shares for every 15 existing shares held. The maximum subscription price and maximum offer price is EUR 55. The new shares will be eligible for dividends for the full financial year 2006. Included in the announcement was a statement that the board will propose to the AGM an increased dividend for the financial year 2005, at a level of EUR 0.55 per share.

The record date is 10 January 2006 and the shares will trade ex rights from 11 January 2006. There will be no trading of rights. The subscription period for the rights offering runs from 11 January to 25 January 2006. The offer and bookbuilding period for the global offering runs from 11 January to 26 January 2006. The final subscription and offer price and the number of the new shares issued will be announced on or about 26 January 2006. The new shares are expected to be listed and to start trading on the Vienna and the Prague Stock Exchange on 27 January 2006.

The announced share issue by Erste Bank should come as no surprise to the market. The announcement is consistent with Erste Bank's statement that it would raise EUR 2.4bn of new capital to finance the BCR acquisition in 1Q06 and there has been speculation in the press that the transaction could come as early as January.


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