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20.09.2006

BA-CA increases support for local clients in international expansion

  • Clients with international business operations can draw on strengths of UniCredit Group
  • Additional structures in place to serve clients in export market
  • Prognosis: 80 percent of corporate clients will be involved in the export business by 2010

Bank Austria Creditanstalt (BA-CA) is already focusing on a key strategy in its corporate client business: it wants to provide increased assistance to local clients in expanding their operations world-wide. According to the forecast of BA-CA, by 2010 around 80 percent of its corporate clients, i.e. companies with annual turnover in excess of EUR 3 million, will be exporters. This will mean both exporters joining the bank as new clients and existing clients moving into the foreign trade business. At present the ratio of such clients at BA-CA is approximately 60 percent. Regina Prehofer, member of the BA-CA Board and responsible for corporate clients and leasing: "No other bank has such a comprehensive network in the heart of Europe – and such profound local knowledge on these markets. Through us, our clients with international business operations can now exploit the strengths of the UniCredit Group. We want to help companies raise their activities further on the international stage."

Survey: Going forward, exporters want to sell more in the East
The corporate client business of BA-CA is already in an ideal position. This traditional mainstay of the bank's operations – 85 percent of large Austrian companies, 61 percent of medium-sized businesses and 45 percent of small enterprises are clients of BA-CA – is backed by an Austrian economy with a strong international focus:  according to a representative survey carried out on behalf of BA-CA in March 2006 by the Brainstudio Institute, 48 percent of small enterprises, 60 percent of medium-sized businesses and 74 percent of large corporations export. The queried firms indicated their desire to focus their goods and services more on the new EU Member States in the future. Further destinations listed by these companies with a view to strengthening their export business included the older EU Member States and the candidate countries.

45 percent of the robust Austrian foreign trade heads to Germany and Italy, where the banking group has a strong presence through HypoVereinsbank and UniCredit – number one in Bavaria and Upper Italy respectively. Angelo Rizzuti, Head of Trade Finance at BA-CA: "Those moving into the export business will be engaged within a 500 km radius. Anyone entering this area will easily find us. We offer our clients a huge advantage with the strong market position of the Group in Bavaria and Upper Italy." If, besides Germany and Italy, we add the markets of Central and Eastern Europe including Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, around 62 percent of Austrian foreign trade ensues on the core markets of the UniCredit Group. Rizzuti: "In our view, almost two-thirds of the cross-border business conducted by Austrian companies is not foreign trade at all but domestic trade, i.e. within the core markets of the UniCredit Group."

Increasing number of businesses today are small multinationals.
In order to facilitate corporate clients in expanding their international business, BA-CA has broadened its existing service structure. From now on, companies whose annual turnover exceeds EUR 3 million will be served from 13 new Regional Centres across the country. This enables BA-CA to provide specific services to these clients who are becoming increasingly involved in cross-border business and are demanding more complex products coupled with a higher level of more specialised consulting – thereby enhancing the presence of these firms on the international stage. Martin Frank, new Head of Corporate and Public Clients: "Many companies today are small multinationals and this is how we want to support them, with comprehensive services ranging from credit letters to cash management solutions stretching over many countries.”  

BA-CA is also planning on adopting a more regional and active approach in Central and Western Austria. Since federal provinces such as Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg do not have common borders with Central and Eastern Europe, local companies in such areas transact less with these growth markets. On the one hand BA-CA wants to play a more individual role in competition between banks, but it also wants to make more intense use of its pervasive know-how of the export business. In this way, BA-CA – which with a financing portfolio of more than EUR 10 billion numbers among the top 10 export financing banks in the world – can develop its activities in the international corporate client business in the Western provinces.  

Frank: "Our banking network is the strongest argument we have in winning over clients." This is why BA-CA will be driving its portfolio of products available throughout the Group. These networked products are designed for clients who want to exploit the benefits of the bank's network – for example swift and inexpensive transfers within the Group or a credit facility for investments in various countries in different currencies. 

Harness dynamic potential of medium-sized enterprises
Within the UniCredit Group, BA-CA is responsible for the markets of Austria and Central and Eastern Europe. It has also recently taken over responsibility for the Baltic States, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. As a result, together with the UniCredit Group, BA-CA operates the largest international banking network in the region with over 2,900 branches. More than 60,000 staff serve approximately 17 million customers. Prehofer: "Following in the footsteps of large corporations, medium-sized enterprises are increasingly turning their attentions towards the east. And those who gained a foothold early in the new EU Member States are moving further eastwards. We want to draw on this dynamic expansion and link it into the advantages stemming from our alliance within UniCredit to help our corporate clients boost their international operations – thus safeguarding Austria’s position as a sound business location."

For more information:   Bank Austria Creditanstalt Press Department, Austria
Christian Kontny, Tel. +43 (0)5 05 05 Ext: 52483;
e-mail: christian.kontny@ba-ca.com