PRESS RELEASE 2014-12-15

ERSTE Foundation extends stable shareholders’ group and reduces net debt significantly

ERSTE Foundation today announces that the Austrian Takeover Commission has approved changes to shareholder agreements leading to a stronger position of ERSTE Foundation as shareholder of Erste Group.

Accordingly, this shareholders’ group now consists of ERSTE Foundation, the Savings Banks’ Group consisting of savings banks and most of their owners (foundations), CaixaBank and the holding entity of Vienna Insurance Group (VIG), the Wiener Städtische Wechselseitige Versicherungsverein (WSW). They all have agreed to follow ERSTE Foundation’s recommendations with regard to the election of new supervisory board members for the future. As a result Erste Group will have a stable shareholders’ group of around 30% of shares outstanding, as detailed below:

ERSTE Foundation 11.9 %
CaixaBank 9.9 %
Savings banks and their foundations 5.2 %
WSW 3.0 %
Total shareholding of group 30.0 %


“With this agreement, one of the biggest retail banks in CEE can continue to rely on a very solid ownership structure with ERSTE Foundation leading a group of committed partners”, says Franz Karl Prüller, member of the Board of ERSTE Foundation and from 1 January 2015 on its chairman. “This will allow Erste Group’s main shareholder to keep on investing its dividends into the social, cultural and democratic development of Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe”.

Further important information:

ERSTE Foundation reduced its stake in Erste Group to 11.9 % by selling shares to CaixaBank as well as to the savings banks and their foundations, thus reducing net debt to EUR 440 million.

CaixaBank and ERSTE Foundation have revised and amended the Preferred Partnership Agreement from 2009. The revised agreement includes the right of CaixaBank to nominate a second member in Erste Group’s Supervisory Board. CaixaBank has also increased its stake in Erste Group from currently 9.1% to 9.9%.

The Savings Banks’ Group enters into a shareholders’ agreement with ERSTE Foundation, increases its stake to 5.2% from previously 3.4 % and is entitled to nominate one member of the Supervisory Board in Erste Group Bank AG and three members of the Supervisory Board in Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG. The Savings Banks’ Group has given almost all of its shares on loan to Sparkassen Beteiligungs GmbH & Co KG, a limited partnership under Austrian law, in which the Foundation holds 51 % and exercises management control. Therefore, the shares of the Savings Banks Group are controlled by the Foundation.

WSW aligned the agreement with ERSTE Foundation concluded in 2013 and increased its stake in Erste Group Bank AG over the last months to approx. 3.0%.

ERSTE Foundation, Communications: Maribel Königer
Tel. +43 50100 15453, E-mail: