Raiffeisen International has beaten analysts’
forecasts and posted a near doubling of its first-quarter pre-tax
profits from €84m ($103.3m) a year ago to €166m.

The results were boosted by a sharp fall in
provisions to cover impairment losses, down 34% from €445m a year
ago to €295m.

Less encouraging was a fall of 10.1%
year-on-year in net interest income to €690m while net fees and
commission slipped 3.9% to €282m; the bank’s cost-income ratio rose
by more than 6 percentage points to 57.1%.

The bank’s retail division achieved a profit
before tax of €25m compared with a loss before tax of €81m in the
corresponding period a year ago.

Retail deposits edged up 1.1 percent from a
year ago to €21.3bn.

“Our results reflect the slight economic
recovery that is taking place in Central and Eastern Europe.
Consequently, our confidence in the region’s long-term potential
remains unbroken,” said Herbert Stepic, CEO of Raiffeisen

In a move designed to increase access to the
capital markets, Raiffeisen International is merging with selected
parts of RZB, the Austrian banking group that owns 73% of its