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Eastern European Markets
NEWS RELEASE
March 5, 2007

Handelsbanken opens branch in St. Petersburg

Handelsbanken is opening its new branch in St. Petersburg, Russia. Handelsbanken already has a branch in Moscow and was first represented in Russia in the 1970s.

"So we are very familiar with the Russian market and all its opportunities, strengths and weaknesses," says Markku Vasari, who has been appointed branch manager in St. Petersburg.

The St. Petersburg branch will offer the full range of Handelsbanken's corporate services right from the start.

An important target group is customers from the Bank's domestic markets in the Nordic countries and Great Britain.

"We grow with our customers. With so many companies, particularly Nordic ones, wanting to start business here, we are here to help them with our services, know-how and contacts," says Markku Vasari.

In the past few years, the Russian economy has grown quite steadily by 6-7 percent a year, mainly driven by oil and gas income. At the same time, the trend is towards a more diversified economy.

"The financial market is booming. But it is not yet an integral part of Russian private customers' everyday lives. By no means everyone has a bank account. But with the middle class expanding so strongly, the demand for universal banking services is increasing. For this reason, we are in the advanced stages of planning to open up for private customers," says Raimo Valo, head of Handelsbanken Russia.

Further information
Raimo Valo, general manager, Russia, +7 495 961 3262
Markku Vasari, branch manager St. Petersburg, +7 812 332 3398
Johan Lagerström, assistant head of corporate communications, +46 8 701 1395, +46 70 265 8014

www.handelsbanken.com


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