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Dec 12, 2007 18:27 EEST
December 12 (SeeNews) - International ratings agency Fitch on Wednesday affirmed the support rating of Croatian bank Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ) at "2" to reflect potential support from the bank's Italian majority owner.
"The rating reflects the high probability of support from PBZ's major shareholder, the newly-merged Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo (IntesaSP, rated 'AA-', (AA minus)/ Outlook Stable), in case of need," Fitch said in a statement.
Intesa Sanpaolo owns 76.3% of PBZ, which was the second-largest Croatian bank with a 19% market share at end-2006, Fitch said.
PBZ's performance has been driven mainly by the improving quality of its steadily-expanding loan book.
“Net interest revenue accounts for some two-thirds of its net income and the margin has been stable. Punitive central bank measures introduced this year to force banks to grow their loan books more slowly, added to tough liquidity reserve requirements already in place, might enable banks to improve their net interest margin as credit supply tightens”, Fitch said.
PBZ was acquired by Italy's Banca Intesa (Intesa) in 1999. Intesa merged with Italy's SanpaoloIMI in January 2007, to form IntesaSP. PBZ is IntesaSP's largest subsidiary in central and eastern Europe.
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