The Management Board of Erste Bank announced today it will propose a four-for-one stock split to the AGM on May 4, 2004, in order to make Erste shares more accessible and marketable. The split increases the number of shares from current 59,943,808 to 239,775,232 and will be effective at the end of June 2004.
Also, the board will propose a capital increase from the current EUR 435.63m to EUR 479.55m that would be funded from Erste’s reserves. No new shares will be issued - the increase will not dilute the value of existing holdings. The split may however increase liquidity of the stock and thus be positive for the current shareholders.
Separately, Erste’s employee share ownership program allows staff to subscribe up to 100 new shares per person in May 10-21 for the price of 20% below the average price on Wiener Borse in April 2004. The shares will be subject to a retention period of one year. An additional 266,000 stock options will be distributed to top management by June 2004. Note that employees and management currently own approximately 1.7% of Erste’s shares.
Jan Hájek, Patria Finance