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BANKING AND FINANCE NOTES

Profit up at Priemyselná banka

In the first six months of 1998, Priemyselná banka, Košice, chalked up net profits of 18.5 million Sk, a surge of 44% over the same period last year. Priemyselná banka ranks thirteenth among Slovak banks in total assets. With a new branch set up in 1998, Priemyselná banka expended its network to 16 operations, while its nationwide staff rose by 30 people in the first six months to 483.

In the first half of the year, the bank gained about 2.25 billion Sk in assets (a 14.6% rise) to 17.7 billion Sk, overshooting its target by 10%. After a setback last year, the bank revved up stock investments to 3.5 billion Sk, apparently by pulling out some of its deposits in other banks. Virtually all of the asset growth was delivered by fresh loans to clients, which were up by 2.5 billion to nearly 9.9 billion Sk.

Early this year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development fetched a 20% stake in the bank by underwriting shares worth 282.5 million Sk. The raise took Priemyselná banka share capital to 1.4 billion Sk, cementing its position as Slovakia's eighth strongest bank in terms of capital.

Major portions of the bank are held by the Slovak Gas Industry (SPP - 12%), Slovakia's largest insurer Slovenská poisťovňa (10.2%), steel maker VSŽ Holding Košice (10%), Omnia Osmad Bratislava with nine percent, Slovak Power Plants with eight percent and Slovenská sporitľňa savings bank with 7.2%.

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