Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG was the main sponsor of the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest currently taking place in Belgrade. This is already the third big TV event sponsored by Raiffeisen International after last year's Ice Hockey World Championship in Moscow and the European Figure Skating Championship, which took place in Zagreb in January. The local Raiffeisen Banks and leasing companies acted as â€œpresenting partnerâ€ in twelve Central and Eastern European countries â€“ Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Raiffeisen International itself presented the final on Austriaâ€™s ORF broadcasting station, live on Saturday, 24 May, at 9.00 p.m. (CEST).
Albania was selected during the second semi-final on 23 May and it was represented by the young 16-year-old singer Olta Boka. She won the Albanian National final, called Festivali i Kenges and while competing in the second semi-final won a place in the final on May 24 where she was ranked 17th out of 25 entrants. She was the youngest singer to represent a country in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008.
""The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the largest events bringing Europe together in front of the television. It addresses an ideal mix of viewers and provides us with an excellent communication platform towards our more than 14 million customers as well as future clients in Central and Eastern Europe"", said Michael Palzer, Head of Communications at Raiffeisen International.
The Eurovision Song Contest has a rich tradition and heritage, dating back to 1956. It is one of the few truly pan-European television programmes transmitted live via the Eurovision satellite network, in prime-time on free-to-air television and is watched by some 100 million viewers throughout Europe and beyond.
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Raiffeisen International operates one of the largest banking networks in CEE. 17 markets of Europe's growth region are covered by subsidiary banks, finance leasing companies and a number of other financial service providers. Over 14 million customers are attended to through more than 3,000 business outlets. Raiffeisen International is a fully consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Ã–sterreich AG (RZB), which owns 68.5 per cent of the common stock. The balance is free float; the shares are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country's largest banking group.