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17.03.2005

Final results for 2004:
Bank Austria Creditanstalt increases profit by 36 per cent

  • Profit after taxes up by 36 per cent to EUR 602 million
  • Profit growth driven by CEE business
  • Net income before taxes for 2005 expected to exceed EUR 1 billion

According to final figures for the 2004 financial year, Bank Austria Creditanstalt's profit
after taxes was EUR 602 million, up by 36.1 per cent on the previous year (2003: EUR 442 million). Net income before taxes and minority interests rose by 29 per cent to EUR 836 million (2003: EUR 648 million). Thus Bank Austria Creditanstalt (BA-CA) significantly exceeded its target for net income before taxes, which was raised from EUR 750 million to EUR 800 million during the year. There are no changes compared with the preliminary figures published on 24 February 2005.

Erich Hampel, CEO of Bank Austria Creditanstalt: "I am very satisfied with the results. We are on track. For 2005 I expect another significant increase.”

Business in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) made a particularly strong contribution to this significant growth in profits: the CEE business segment achieved a substantial increase in net income before taxes from EUR 151 million to EUR 362 million. Accounting for 43 per cent of the BA-CA Group's net income before taxes, the CEE business segment is the most important contributor to Bank Austria Creditanstalt's profits.

In 2004, shareholders' equity shown in Bank Austria Creditanstalt's balance sheet in accordance with IAS rose to EUR 6.6 billion. Thus BA-CA has by far the strongest capital base of any bank in Austria. As at 31 December 2004, BA-CA's total assets amounted to EUR 146.5 billion (31 December 2003: EUR 137 billion), an increase of 6.9 per cent over the year-end 2003 figure. The increase is mainly due to a strong expansion of customer business.

The return on equity before taxes (ROE) rose to 13.4 per cent (2003: 12.8 per cent) despite a further increase in shareholders' equity. The ROE after taxes increased by one percentage point  to 9.7 per cent (2003: 8.7 per cent). The cost/income ratio improved significantly, declining to 64.9 per cent (2003: 69.9 per cent).

Bank Austria Creditanstalt continued to pursue its expansion in Central and Eastern Europe in 2004. The bank further enlarged its network by acquiring Hebros Bank in Bulgaria and Eksimbanka in Serbia. With a presence in 11 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, BA-CA operates the leading international banking network in the region. The combined total assets of Bank Austria Creditanstalt's operations in CEE rose from EUR 23 billion to EUR 30.1 billion, an increase of 31 per cent. At the same time, Bank Austria Creditanstalt added some 100 branches to the CEE network, bringing the total number of offices to 988. BA-CA's customers have access via HVB Group to the markets in Russia, Ukraine and in the Baltic countries as well as to all major international business and financial centres.

For the current year 2005, Bank Austria Creditanstalt expects that net income before taxes, in accordance with IFRS 3, will exceed EUR 1 billion.


Enquiries: Bank Austria Creditanstalt Press Relations
Martin Hehemann, tel.: +43 (0)5 05 05 57007; e-mail: martin.hehemann@ba-ca.com 
Peter N. Thier, tel.: +43 (0)5 05 05 52371; e-mail: peter.thier@ba-ca.com