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BNP Paribas, through its Cetelem subsidiary, acquires JetFinance International, Bulgaria's leading consumer credit specialist, consolidating its pole position in this sector in continental Europe

BNP Paribas, through its Cetelem subsidiary, continental Europe's leading provider of consumer credit, has announced its takeover of the leader in the Bulgarian market, JetFinance International.
JetFinance International is a specialist in consumer credit with 800 employees. It operates in over 150 towns across Bulgaria, offering its products through close to 3,600 sales outlets and via its own branch network. Its distribution model is therefore very similar to that developed by Cetelem in a number of countries throughout the world. With a 500,000 strong client portfolio, JetFinance International saw its new business volume and outstanding loans grow by over 60% in 2006. Thanks to a quality management team and motivated staff, this trend continued throughout the first half of 2007.

This is a strategically important investment for BNP Paribas, giving it access to a retail client base. Bulgaria, with forecast annual GDP growth of about 5% until 2009, enjoys one of the highest levels of growth potential in Central and Eastern Europe.

For Cetelem, this acquisition reinforces its regional coverage, confirming its capacity to offer its partners a truly pan-European service. Central and Eastern Europe are already priority targets for Cetelem having already established roots in Hungary and the Czech Republic as long ago as 1996. Cetelem is also present in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, the Ukraine and Russia. Moreover, Cetelem ranks among the top 3 consumer credit operators in Bulgaria, thanks to this acquisition, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

"This acquisition reflects Cetelem's keen desire to develop its business in emerging economies and in countries that have strong growth potential. Our emerging markets business already accounts for 15% of the company's net banking income", declared François Villeroy de Galhau, Cetelem's Chairman and Managing Director.

“In Cetelem, the management and employees of JetFinance have found the perfect shareholder. This transaction will allow JetFinance to continue to consolidate and further develop its leading position in the consumer finance industry in Bulgaria”, specifies Elvin Guri, Chief Executive Officer.

The transaction is subject to approval by the competent authorities.

About JetFinance International
JetFinance International was established in 2001 by two top executives, Elvin Guri and Ivan Hristanov, the company's current Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer respectively. JetFinance International is a company owned mainly by AIG Investments through the AIG -New Europe Fund, a fund sponsored by AIG Capital Partners, Inc.

About Cetelem
A BNP Paribas Group company, Cetelem was a pioneer in the field of consumer credit back in 1953 and of Internet credit since 1997. It is now market leader in France and in continental Europe, with over 58 billion euros of outstanding loans and 23,000 employees as at the end of June 2007. Cetelem is present in 29 countries over four of the world's continents. Cetelem is also a first choice partner for retailers, banks and insurance companies to which it lends its extensive know-how in the field of consumer credit. For further information, visit our Website at:

About BNP Paribas in Bulgaria
BNP Paribas S.A. - Sofia Branch is a commercial and investment bank in Bulgaria. It serves large and medium-sized corporate and institutional clients, spanning the major sectors in the economy. They benefit from a full range of commercial and investment bank services as well as from customer-tailored financial solutions with strong advisory components. BNP Paribas has been present in Bulgaria since 1994.