KBC : KBC acquires part of IFC's stake in Absolut Bank (Russia)


On 18 April 2007, KBC and the shareholders of Absolut Bank reached agreement for KBC to acquire 92.5% of Absolut Bank, one of the leading independent mortgage lenders in Russia.

IFC (the International Finance Corporation), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group - which holds the remaining 7.5% of the shares - has now decided to sell 2.5% of its shareholding to KBC, thus bringing KBC's stake in Absolut Bank to 95%. IFC will retain a 5% shareholding in Absolut Bank.

The acquisition of Absolut Bank is still subject to the regulatory approval of the Central Bank of Russia and the Anti-Trust Commission. KBC expects the deal to be closed during the third quarter of 2007.

Jan Vanhevel, CEO of the Central & Eastern Europe Business Unit at KBC Group welcomed today's agreement, saying: "Absolut Bank is one of the fastest growing banks in Russia and has doubled its loan book year after year for the last five years. For KBC, the acquisition constitutes a logical and important step in its international expansion. Having established a strong presence in a number of first- and second-wave EU-accession countries, KBC is now entering a new emerging European market. KBC is very pleased to be able to rely on IFC's longstanding experience and thorough knowledge of the Russian banking market."

Since 1993, IFC has invested 3.4 billion USD in debt and equity in Russia, including 527 million USD in syndicated loans, in over 130 projects across a variety of sectors. IFC's investment portfolio in Russia currently stands at 2 billion USD, making it the largest country exposure for IFC globally. "IFC is very pleased to start a partnership with KBC Bank in Russia and is looking forward to further developing Absolut Bank, one of the most successful private banks in the country," commented Jerome Sooklal, IFC's Director for Central and Eastern Europe.

The recent press release about the acquisition and more information about KBC Group are availableon www.kbc.com. More information about Absolut Bank can be found at www.absolutbank.com.

For more information, please contact:

Nezhdana Bukova, Press Secretary, IFC Moscow
Tel +7(495) 411 3986

Irina Likhacheva, Strategy Officer, IFC Washington
Tel +1(202) 783 1813

Luc Cool, Director of Investor Relations, KBC Group
Tel. (+32) 2 429 40 51

Viviane Huybrecht, Head of Group Communication and of the KBC Press Office
Spokesperson, KBC Group
Tel. (+32) 2 429 85 45
viviane.huybrecht@kbc.be or pressofficekbc@kbc.be

Dinara Suleymanova, Head of Marketing Department in Absolut Bank.
Tel +7(495) 995-1001; +7(495)777-7171

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