* RBL OOe head does not rule out merger talks
* RBI to restructure after 2014 loss (Adds RBI saying no merger plans)
VIENNA, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) rebuffed the idea of a merger with Raiffeisen Zentralbank (RZB) on Thursday in response to a newspaper interview in which a senior Raiffeisen executive had not ruled out such a combination.
“A couple of days ago, RBI presented a comprehensive programme for a strategic update which will be consequently executed. There are no plans to merge RZB and RBI,” an RBI spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
RBI posted a preliminary 2014 loss of 493 million euros ($559 million) this week and embarked on a restructuring plan to exit Poland and cut back in Russia.
RZB is the majority shareholder of RBI and counts Raiffeisen Landesbank Oberoesterreich AG (RLB OOe) as a major shareholder.
RLB OOe chief executive Heinrich Schaller told the Austrian newspaper Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten that RBI’s loss “hurts” but that it’s not “existentially threatening”.
When asked whether there would be a merger between RBI and RZB, Schaller said there was not currently a plan for this.
“If there is (a concept) with good arguments, we will discuss this objectively ... RBI and RZB will be set up so that they are not dangerous for the sector,” Schaller was quoted as saying.
$1 = 0.8814 euros Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich; Writing by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Mark Potter and Vincent Baby