The Romanian banking market is close to boiling point these days as two merged banks are ready to join forces with a third to claim a bigger slice of the Romanian banking cake. The merger between HVB and Tiriac Bank is due to be followed by another one, with UniCredit Romania, which is due to conclude by summer 2007.

UniCredit Romania officials announced the management of the future bank on Wednesday and said the resulting institution will claim the third place on the Romanian market. Steven van Groningen, head of Raiffeisen Romania, showed reservation towards the competing company’s statements and told he would wait for the “merger results”.

A first step towards a merger between HVB Tiriac Bank and UniCredit Romania came with the announcement of the management of the future bank.

Dan Pascariu, currently head of HVB Tiriac Bank, will take the seat of president of the board, a non-executive position, while Rasvan Radu, now executive president of UniCredit Romania, will join him as executive head of the future organization. Throughout the merger process, the two entities will continue to run their activities independently.

The merger between HVB Bank Romania and Banca Tiriac concluded on September 1, 2006. The newly formed company, HVB Tiriac Bank, falls fourth among Romania’s top banks, with a market share of some 6.5% and total assets of 2.58 billion euro (Romania only).

Unicredit: we’re third biggest. Raiffeisen: let’s see

UniCredit announced in a press release that the merger will create the third biggest banking company in Romania, with assets of over 3.3 billion euro, 132 banking units and over 600,000 clients.

Bank representatives told that “the 3.3 billion euro relate to Romanian assets alone and depict the cumulated results of the two banks in the first six months of this year”.

And they said that “by the end of the first half of 2006, UniCredit Romania and HVB Tiriac jointly had 343 ATM’s, 2,660 POS’s and a network of 132 units”.

But, says Groningen of Raiffeisen Bank, “we always thought that - just like in sports competitions - the results are more important than statements. We should wait for the moment the merger concludes in order to be able to evaluate the place of the new entity in the banking system

Raiffeisen’s results for the first half of 2006 show a profit-after-tax of 17.5 million euro, with total assets of 3.2 billion euro, up some 25% compared to the same period last year.

The bank boasts with over 2 million clients including 125,000 SMEs and more than 4,700 medium and big corporations. It has 235 branches, 800 ATM’s and 6500 POS’s.

The Romanian banking market is currently dominated by Erste Bank, which reached a market share of 25,6% after the takeover of the Romanian Commercial Bank-BCR. BCR-Erste is followed by BRD-Groupe Societe Generale.