THE MERGER of one of the smaller Slovak banks, Istrobanka, with ČSOB bank will be completed on July 1. This means that Istrobanka will no longer operate under its own name any more, Zuzana Francúzová from the ČSOB press department told the ČTK newswire.
The Austrian bank BAWAG sold Istrobanka to the Belgian financial group KBC, parent company of ČSOB, for €350 million after Istrobanka failed to fulfil the goal of achieving a five-percent market share.
The combined bank will compete under the name ČSOB as the legal successor of Istrobanka, taking over all of its assets and liabilities. The network of operations and branches will be gradually unified. About 18 of ČSOB’s current 93 branches and 61 of Istrobanka’s branches will be merged due to overlapping activities, the SITA newswire wrote.
ČSOB operated in Slovakia as a subsidiary of a foreign bank until late 2007. On January 1, 2008 it became an independent joint stock company in Slovakia .
ČSOB is a member of the KBC group, in which the Belgian group holds a 100-percent stake in voting rights. KBC and BAWAG agreed upon the sale of Istrobanka in the second half of March 2008, after KBC received approval from the National Bank of Slovakia and Slovakia’s Antitrust Office.