VIENNA, February 16 (Itar-Tass) — On Wednesday Russia’s Sberbank and Austria’s Volksbank closed a major deal that was signed last September – on the acquisition by Sberbank of 100 percent of Volksbank International's (VBI) shares and more than 300 affiliates in eight countries of Eastern Europe and Ukraine.
The purchase and sale contract was finalized by Sberbank's CEO and Chairman German Gref and CEO of Volksbank Gerald Wenzel. The two companies' heads signed the document in the ceremonial hall of the Vienna Stock Exchange.
The final sum of the deal reached 505 million euros, that is, 80 million euros less than the price agreed upon five months ago. The “discount” has been made due to the fact that a VBI subsidiary in Hungary ended last year with losses, and a financial injection worth of 80 million euros was needed for the branch’s salvation. At the insistence of the Russian side, these costs were charged to the seller.
In general, in the opinion of experts, this deal will allow Sberbank to create a good base for further expansion of its presence in Eastern Europe. According to Gref, the move will make Sberbank a considerably more significant player in Central and Eastern Europe. “This will give us access to the attractive and growing markets of Central and Eastern Europe, and it will serve as a platform for organic growth and further acquisitions in the region. I am also confident that the 600,000 clients of Volksbank International and its employees will benefit from Sberbank’s support of VBI’s business and will enjoy new opportunities arising from our ownership.”