CORPORATE NEWS

Komerční Banka, VÚB shares should be sold abroad

The sale of stakes in Komerční Banka (KB), a Czech commercial bank, and Všeobecná Úverová Banka (VÚB), the largest Slovak bank, on world capital markets by an international investment bank is an alternative to exchanging shares, said Richard Salzman, KB's general director. Salzman was referring to the fact that a stake of KB is owned by the Slovak state privatization agency Fund for National Property (FNM), while 30 percent of VÚB is still owned by the Czech FNM. An exchange of the stakes is the main condition for the privatization of the two banks.

The total assets of KB Bratislava grew to 3.1 billion Sk as of the end of 1996, while client deposits grew to 1.2 billion Sk, Salzman said. While the bank's loan portfolio grew to 900 million Sk, Salzman emphasized that the bank does not want to maximize its loan volume, but have a quality loan portfolio. So far, no loan is bad or doubtful at KB, which made a profit of 14-19 million Sk last year, he added. The bank is going through with plans to open branches throughout Slovakia; in mid-Ferbuary, it opened its first branch in Bratislava, and it will open two more in Koöice and in Banská Bystrica by the end of that month.

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