Raiffeisen sees Albania as Southeastern Europes top-performer for third year in a row


In a recently published update, Raiffeisen Research, a part of the RZB Group, confirmed that Albania's economy has managed to maintain its positive development in terms of growth and stability. After Albania's economy grew by 7.8% in 2008 and more that 3% in 2009, Raiffeisen's analysts expect the country to once again post the highest GDP-growth in Southeastern Europe (SEE) in 2010 with an estimated gain of 3.5%. This series could even be prolonged if Albania's GDP grows by a further 5.0% growth in 2011, as Raiffeisen Research expects it to. ""Last year, Albania was the only country in the region whose economy managed to grow. This is a remarkable success"", stated Herbert Stepic, CEO of Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG and Deputy CEO of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB).

Stepic has just returned from the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which was held in Zagreb on May 14-15. He underlined that the general perception at the Zagreb meeting was that the EU's decisive action that resulted in a € 750 billion support package has also eliminated significant pressure on SEE. ""The package was a big relief and many experts on the region, myself included, now see the outlook for SEE as much more stable and positive than we had only ten days ago. This development is vital, also in the light of the fact that Albania is tapping the bond market. The environment is now much friendlier for Albania's inaugural euro-denominated bond and I expect this placement to be successful.""

In 2004, Raiffeisen International acquired the State Savings Bank and re-branded it Raiffeisenbank Albania. With total assets of about € 1.8 billion at the year-end 2009, Raiffeisenbank Albania was the country's largest bank with a market share of approximately 28 per cent. ""We are very pleased with our presence in Albania. We not only restructured a profitable bank and even further increased its profitability, but we've also seen the market and our industry become more competitive. The Albanian authorities have created the environment of this flourishing financial sector and we are proud that we are a vital part of this development and have also contributed to this progress"", Stepic added.

In addition to GDP growth and the well-developing financial sector, Stepic considers a series of other factors that should support the country's long-term success. Apart from the promising energy sector and the positive economic impact from the general improvement of infrastructure, he sees huge potential in tourism. ""The beauty of the Albanian coast and its sea is a treasure that still needs to be further developed. The country offers endless untapped beaches in a favourable climate zone that will attract tourists from all over the world. One of our core functions apart from providing financial services is to promote the strengths and potentials of the region that we consider our home market. And we do that continuously across and beyond our network of many thousands corporate customers and potential investors,"" Stepic said and underpinned his positive outlook for Albania.

For further information please contact Michael Palzer (+43-1-71 707-2828, [email protected]) or Peter Klopf (+43-1-71 707-1930, [email protected]) .http://www.ri.co.at, http://www.rzb.at