Ceska sporitelna (CS), Erste's 98%-owned Czech subsidiary, seeks possible acquisition targets on domestic non-banking financial markets (pension funds, leasing companies, etc.) to boost its overall market position, CS board member M. Skopek said yesterday. Such acquisitions could reportedly take place by 2006.
We consider the strategy as reasonable given:
excess liquidity at CS
the strong capital position of the bank
the impossibility to increase its market position on the domestic banking
market through acquisitions due to likely anti-trust concerns
improbable expansion abroad due to Erste's presence on neighboring markets via its subsidiaries.
Also, CS has decided to sell its non-life insurance business to the Kooperativa insurance company, Wiener Stadtische's Czech subsidiary, as Erste intends to focus exclusively on the life insurance market. The sale price was not disclosed. The transaction is to be concluded in Q1 2004. Expected.