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VIENNA, Dec 20 (Reuters) - EMBARGO 1400 CET/1300 GMT Central and eastern Europe-focused lender Raiffeisen Bank International will press ahead with the planned listing of part of its Polish unit and then assess its options, its designated chief executive said on Tuesday.
Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) had been in exclusive talks with Poland's Alior Bank about selling its Polish unit but Alior pulled out this month. RBI is required to list at least 15 percent of the unit in Warsaw by the end of June.
"We have to close this IPO (initial public offering) chapter successfully. The sooner the better," said Johann Strobl, whom RBI and its parent company Raiffeisen Zentralbank have chosen to lead them after their planned merger.
Speaking to reporters, Strobl would not be drawn on options beyond that IPO but said that given the current price levels of banks in Poland it was unlikely RBI would list more than 15 percent of its unit there, Raiffeisen Polbank.
It is also important that Polbank bring its cost-income ratio down from its current level above 70 percent to within a target range of 50-55 percent, Strobl said, adding that he believed that could be achieved within two years and would involve a large round of job cuts. (Reporting by Francois Murphy and Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, editing by Louise Heavens)