AUSTRIANS HAVE RENAMED BIOCHIM BUT LEFT IT ITS PROFIT
The entire profit of Biochim Commercial Bank for 2003 - BGN16.22MN - will be set aside in the Reserve Fund, Guenter Etenauer, Deputy Director of Foreign Bank Participation in Bank Austria explained to a reporter of the BANKER weekly. He was presenting the Austrian bank that holds 98% of Biochim's capital at the financial institution's general meeting on May 26. According to Mr. Etenauer, the decision that Biochim will not distribute dividend has been made in order to increase the bank's equity capital which will allow it to expand its share on financial markets. The 2003 report of Biochim's Management Board reads that the credit institution has increased its assets by about 20% and they have reached BGN1,124MN, up from BGN939MN. According to its managers, this rates the bank the fourth biggest credit institution in Bulgaria. Biochim has reported 72.6% growth of extended loans. Its credit portfolio amounted to BGN803.3MN in end-2003, up BGN337.9MN from December 31, 2002. The growth of attracted deposits was only 23 per cent. Their amount reached BGN890.3MN in the end of 2003, up from BGN726MN a year ago. Biochim's shareholders voted for dismissing from its Supervisory Board Friedrich Kardnoska, Wolfgang Haller and Willi Hemetsberger. They were replaced by three representatives of Bank Austria's higher management, responsible for the financial institution's markets in Central and Eastern Europe. The newly appointed Supervisory Board members are: Regina Prehofer, Bank Austria Management Board member, Ralf Cymanek, Head of Operations Management for Easteuropean countries, and Wolfgang Helpa, Deputy General Manager for Southeastern Europe. Biochim's shareholders decided as well that Harald Nograsek, Heinz Meidlinger and Wolfgang Edelmueller would remain Supervisory Board members, and its Chairman Anton Knett also kept his position. The general meeting made a decision as well for changing Biochim's name to HVB Bank Biochim. By that change we want to show that the process of the Bulgarian bank's integration into the financial group of Bank Austria and HVB Group has been completed, Biochim's Executive Director Peter Harold explained.