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Erste: BCR brand value drops to 348 million euros

Erste: BCR brand value drops to 348 million euros
18.06.2008, 19:10 23

The value of the brand of BCR, the biggest bank on the market in terms of assets, has been adjusted by its majority shareholder Erste Bank, from 388 million euros in the third quarter of last year to 348 million euros in the first quarter of 2008.
The Austrians had forecast the value of BCR's customer relationships at 825 million euros at the end of the third quarter of 2007, but decreased the level to 703 million euros in the first quarter of this year.
Still, the so-called intangible assets of BCR, such as the brand and the customer relationships continue to account for more than 60% of total intangible assets included in Erste Bank's balance sheet, which were evaluated at more than 5.8 billion euros at the end of the first quarter.
The figures were presented by Andreas Treichl, CEO of Erste Bank, during several meetings with investors and analysts in order to persuade them that the Austrian bank did not have any capitalisation problems.
Unlike the value of the BCR brand, the other banking brands in Erste's portfolio are not registered as intangible assets.
Brand awareness is very important on the retail banking market, particularly amid tighter competition for customers and market shares. The Austrians acknowledged the value of BCR's brand from the outset, which is why they kept it in place when they changed the image of the bank, so as to indicate it was part of the Erste group.
Since October 2006, when formalities for BCR's privatisation were completed, the share of the loan market of the biggest bank in the system has constantly changed, going down from 30% to 23.2% in May, according to data published by the majority shareholder.
A sharp decline occurred at the beginning of 2007, when BCR's share fell from 28% to 25% in four months.
A similar phenomenon was registered in terms of its position on the deposit market where BCR's market share fell from 34% in October 2006 to 127.7% in March 2008.
The last few months, however, indicate a rebound is taking place on this segment, after Erste data revealed a slight increase to 28% in May, given that BCR raised deposit interest rates and encouraged people to make sight deposits.
Andreas Treichl, CEO of Erste Bank and chairman of BCR's Supervisory Board, has repeatedly said he believes it is only natural to lose market share in Romania given the aggressiveness of small players. He believes BCR's leading position remains quite solid, and said that he expected erosion to stop and a few percentage points to be regained this spring.
During a road show presentation of Erste last month, Treichl continued to talk about a bullish forecast of the macroeconomic framework in Romania: the slowdown of trade and foreign deficit, the rebound of the RON, helped by a strengthened monetary policy, fast economic growth, which is estimated at more than 6% for this year and in 2009.
He also anticipates a slowdown in the growth of lending compared with last year, despite going strong in the first quarter.

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