28 Feb 2010

Overpaying for Acquisitions

We were quite staggered by the prices some Western Banks paid when they acquired banks in 'high growth potential markets' in Eastern Europe or other Emerging Markets. Case in point is Austria's Raiffeisen that supposedly paid nearly Euro 1 billion for Ukraine's Bank Aval in 2005. This represented nearly two thirds of Aval's balance sheet. Similarly high multiples were shelled out by other banks while we continuously advised that it would make more sense to plough the money into organic expansion. After all, the banks that were acquired were themselves only built up over a short time-span nor had they proven themselves through the business cycle.

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