KBC : KBC Lease completes acquisition of majority stake in Romstal Leasing in Romania


Following the announcement on 15 December 2006, KBC Lease today closed the deal to acquire 99.34% of Romstal Leasing, the largest independent leasing company in Romania. KBC Lease also acquired full ownership of INK Insurance Broker, the seventh largest insurance broker in Romania.

As planned, it paid 70 million euros in the deal. With this move, KBC has taken another important step towards achieving its strategy of expansion in Central and Eastern Europe, its other home market.

Romstal Leasing is the largest independent leasing company in Romania. At the end of 2006, it held a 4.20% share of the Romanian leasing market and was ranked thirteenth. The bulk of its financing activity (43.30%) relates to car leasing, but it also leases delivery vans, lorries, machinery and equipment and real estate. Romstal Leasing boasts a high level of profitability, with a ROE of 29.50% in 2006 and net profit growth of 22.30% in the period 2005-2006. During this period, its leasing portfolio also expanded by 82.90%. The company has experienced enormous growth in the last few years and has opened new branches throughout Romania. It now has a network of 20 branches in almost all of the country's major cities and employs 91 people. To take advantage of the rapidly growing market, the company plans to expand its network to 35 branches by 2008. On 21 March 2007, the company was licensed as a non-financial institution by the National Bank of Romania.

INK Insurance Broker is the seventh largest insurance broker in Romania (up from tenth in 2004). Established in 2003, INK Insurance is a fast-growing sister company of Romstal Leasing, providing products and services to Romstal Leasing and other companies. It has a current workforce of 25 FTEs and enjoys a high level of profitability, with premium income going up by 56.30% and earnings increasing by 51.90% in the period 2005-2006.

Over the past decade, KBC has built up a strong presence in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. KBC's long-term strategic plans include continuing to explore market opportunities in future new EU Member States and beyond.

In Central and Eastern Europe, KBC Lease is present via ?SOB Leasing (Czech Republic and Slovakia), K&H Leasing Group (Hungary) and Kredyt Lease (Poland). KBC Lease occupies leading positions on the leasing market in the Czech Republic (No. 1 with a 15% market share), in Slovakia (No. 1 with a 17% market share), in Hungary (No. 6 with an 8% market share) and in Poland (less than a 1% market share).

For more information, please contact:

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

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

Note to the editor

KBC Group NV: www.kbc.com

KBC Group NV is one of the leading financial groups in Europe. A multi-channel bancassurance group with a geographic focus on Europe, it caters mainly for retail and private banking customers and small and medium-sized enterprises. Besides focusing on providing retail and private bancassurance services, it is also active in asset management, the provision of corporate services and market activities.

KBC occupies significant, even leading positions in its two home markets of Belgium and Central and Eastern Europe and has an extensive private banking network operating under the European Private Bankers concept. It has also selectively established a presence in a number of other countries and regions around the world.

Over the past decade, KBC has built up another strong presence in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. KBC's long-term strategic plans include continuing to explore market opportunities in future new EU Member States and beyond. KBC Securities, the broking company of KBC Group, recently  acquired Swiss Capital, the second biggest independent broking company in Romania and Equitas, the leading Hungarian online retail broker. At the end of January KBC and Kontrakt Sofia reached agreement for KBC to acquire 70% ownership of DZI Insurance, the market leader in non-life and life insurance in Bulgaria. Following the acquisition, KBC will launch a public bid for the remaining 30%. As part of that deal, KBC will also acquire DZI INVEST, a securities broker active on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.

KBC Group NV is listed on Euronext Brussels and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (ticker symbol 'KBC').
With a market capitalisation of around 32 billion euros, KBC is one of the biggest companies in Belgium and a leading financial group in Europe, employing 51 000 people and catering for 11 million customers.

KBC Lease Holding NV: www.kbclease.com

KBC Lease Holding NV is a wholly-owned subsidiary of KBC Group NV. KBC Lease Holding NV manages a European network of leasing companies providing general lease, real estate lease, full service car lease and pan-European Vendor Finance.    

KBC Lease has established a presence in 13 other countries in Western and Southern Europe with leading positions in the home markets of KBC.

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