Vienna-based Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG (RaiffeisenInternational) has concluded negotiations to buy 100 per cent of theUkrainian Processing Center (UPC) from its current owners. In accordancewith an agreement between the two parties, the purchase price will notbe disclosed.
Heinz Wiedner, Chief Operating Officer of Raiffeisen International,commenting on the deal said:“This purchase provides us with the technical ability to support our regional card business expansion in a cost efficient and high quality manner. It complements well our existing strategy to centralise card processing for the group and creates further economies of scale.” Aris Bogdaneris, Board Member for retail banking, added: “The development of card products remains a top priority in our retail banking strategy.”
Payment-card transactions are a rapidly growing market in Ukraine.According to the latest figures released by the National Bank of Ukrainefor the first quarter of 2005, the number of transactions grew by 40 percent compared to the same period of the previous year, with volumesgrowing even faster at 55 per cent.
The UPC will enhance the processing of ATM and POS transactions regionwide and also providing a substantial boost to RaiffeisenInternational’s existing card business in Ukraine.
The UPC is an independent transaction processing center, certified bymajor international financial corporations like Visa International,MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club. The company was foundedin 1997 with the aim of supporting the development of international andlocal non-cash payment systems. It serves 32 Ukrainian banks.
The UPC’s main activities include the authorisation of international and local payment cards transactions, technical support of POS-terminals, ATM network development and management, as well as regional interbank clearing.
Raiffeisen International is the steering unit for the subsidiaries ofRaiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG (RZB) in Central and EasternEurope (CEE). Its shares are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZBowns 70 per cent. The balance is free-float, including shareholdings ofthe International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank forReconstruction and Development (EBRD) of about three per cent each.Raiffeisen International operates the leading banking network in CEEwith network banks and leasing companies in 16 markets. More than 5.7million customers are served through almost 1,000 business outlets. Lastweek Raiffeisen International announced the acquisition of a 93.5 percent stake in Aval Bank, the Ukraine’s second-largest bank. The acquisition is subject to approval of the National Bank of Ukraine and other relevant authorities in Ukraine and Austria.