Shares of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), which are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange, weakened by more than seven and a half percent to 12.87 euros a piece on Friday morning. They have written off almost seventeen percent in the last month.
RBI is currently the most important Western bank in Russia. The Ukrainian government placed the company on its list of “international war sponsors” due to its reluctance to leave the country. The European Central Bank is not asking the RBI to pull out of the Russian market immediately. But he wants the monetary institution to present a clear plan on how it intends to get rid of its activities in Russia.
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“We urge banks to closely monitor activities in Russia and, ideally, to curtail and terminate them as much as possible,” a spokesperson for the European Central Bank announced. The RBI responded by stating that it is currently reviewing its options for operating in the country and that a “carefully managed exit” is one of the options.
However, Raiffeisen Group CEO Johann Strobl also previously said that exiting Russia was a difficult step, noting that the bank was “not a hot dog stand that can be closed overnight.”
The Austrian Ministry of Finance pointed out that most multinational companies, including banks, have not left Russia. “There continues to be a significant volume of trade between Russia and the rest of the world in commodities such as grains, fertilizers, oil, gas, nickel and other metals that requires payment,” the ministry said. In addition to the RBI, the Italian UniCredit Bank continues to operate in the country.
In the case of Austrian financial institutions, the long-term economic ties between Austria and Russia play a role, among other things. It is the Russian market that has a significant share in the economy of the Austrian financial group. Last year’s total net profit of the RBI reached 3.6 billion euros, more than 85 billion crowns. Russia, where the bank has been operating since 1996 and is one of the biggest players on the market – Russian savers and companies have more than twenty billion euros in their accounts with the RBI.