On 19 March 1997, Die Erste and AVS acquired a majority stake in GiroCredit Bank Aktiengesellschaft der Sparkassen (GiroCredit) by purchasing 56.1% of the ordinary shares of GiroCredit (51.1% of the total share capital), which had formerly been held by Anteilsverwaltungssparkasse-Zentralsparkasse. Together with 26% of the ordinary share capital (24.7% of the total share capital), which had already been held by the Erste Group (DIE ERSTE, Salzburger Sparkasse und Sparkasse Mistelbach), AVS and the Erste Group gained control over 82.1% of the ordinary shares (75% of the share capital) of GiroCredit.
Under the merger agreement of 27 June 1997, Die Erste was merged with Giro Credit; among other things, the agreement stipulated a ratio of 2.4:1 for the conversion of ordinary shares of GiroCredit into ordinary shares of the new Erste Bank.
The merger was implemented through the absorption of GiroCredit into Die Erste; through universal succession, Die Erste was subrogated into all the rights and obligations of GiroCredit.
The merger was approved by the general shareholders’ meetings of Die Erste and GiroCredit on 21 Aug. 1997 and became legally effective upon registration in the Company Register on 4 October 1997. At the same time, “DIE ERSTE österreichische Spar-Casse - Bank AG” was renamed “Erste Bank der Oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG”.
Info on GiroCredit:
In 1937, GiroCredit was founded by the Sparkassen as “Girovereinigung der österreichischen Sparkassen” to serve as the central institution of the Sparkassen Group in Austria and as the clearing bank for payments between the Savings Banks. In 1992, the institution, which had since been renamed “Girozentrale der österreichischen Sparkassen Aktiengesellschaft”, merged with ÖCI (Österreichisches Credit-Institut) to become “GiroCredit Bank Aktiengesellschaft der Sparkassen”.
As the legal successor of GiroCredit, Erste Bank provides a number of financial services for the Sparkassen Group. This relationship was intended to provide advantages to both Erste Bank and the Sparkassen Group, especially through shared product distribution channels, joint marketing, and other agreements.