Raiffeisen Retains Positive Outlook

ST. PETERSBURG — Austrian bank Raiffeisen International reiterated its outlook Friday despite turmoil on financial markets and said Russia represented the "most juicy" market in which it is operating.

Raiffeisen said at an investor meeting in St. Petersburg that it expected to make a net profit of 1 billion euros ($1.47 billion) this year, annual asset growth of 20 percent until 2010 and return on equity of 25 percent by that time.

"We are especially proud that, thanks to our business model, we can provide an unchanged outlook despite the global financial crisis," chief executive Herbert Stepic said in a statement.

While Raiffeisen is not exposed to the toxic U.S. debt assets that have wreaked havoc in other banks' balance sheets, its shares have tumbled this year as investors fled emerging market stocks.

"The Russian market even today and despite the market turbulences is the most juicy market we are operating in," Stepic told reporters.