Chief Correspondent, Austria, Vienna, Austria
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Jul 20, 2010

Policymaker seeks to allay fears over Europe tests

VIENNA/LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) – One of Europe’s top
central bankers sought on Tuesday to allay concerns that a
health check of Europe’s lenders would be too soft on banks,
calling the tests “strict and serious”.

Europe’s stress tests aim to assess how 91 banks would cope
with another economic downturn in an effort to restore
confidence after Greece’s sovereign debt crisis sparked fears
the euro zone could unravel and leave banks nursing big losses
on government debt. [ID:nLDE66I14A]

Jul 14, 2010

Europe struggles to match U.S. bank test resolve

LONDON/VIENNA (Reuters) – Europe’s struggle to thrash out a thin outline of its bank stress test and agree consistency bodes ill for hopes the exercise will provide the transparency and resolve needed to revive investor confidence.

There are clear splits in the 27-nation EU about how to model the test and how much to divulge. French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde admits discussions will go to the last minute.

Jul 1, 2010

Dana Petroleum had preliminary takeover approach

LONDON/VIENNA, July 1 (Reuters) – British oil and gas
exploration and production company Dana Petroleum (DNX.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has
received a preliminary offer approach which may or may not lead
to an offer for the company, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The Financial Times reported that South Korea’s national oil
company, KNOC [KOILC.UL], was exploring a 1.5 billion pound
($2.2 billion) takeover offer for Dana, and had made preliminary
contact. It cited people familiar with the situation.
Dana shares rose sharply last week on market speculation
that Austrian oil and gas group OMV (OMVV.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was interested in
the company, but an OMV spokeswoman said on Thursday this was
not the case.

Jun 30, 2010

Verbund eyes 1 bln euro cap hike to cut debt

VIENNA, June 30 (Reuters) – Austria’s biggest utility
Verbund (VERB.VI: Quote, Profile, Research) is eyeing a share issue of around 1 billion
euros ($1.22 billion) to bring down debt that ballooned last
year after a 2 billion euro expansion spree.

The group, which is 51-percent owned by the Austrian state,
said on Wednesday the government backed the planned capital
increase and would participate in the issue with around 500
million euros, corresponding to its share in the company.

Jun 29, 2010

Banks to weigh on Europe economy despite G20 reprieve

VIENNA (Reuters) – The delayed introduction of stricter capital rules agreed by the G20 buys Europe time, but the fact remains that its economies are much more exposed to the state of their banks and more at risk if credit gets tight.

In Toronto on Sunday, the G20 endorsed a more flexible timeline for building up banks’ capital and liquidity levels, giving some breathing room to those that say they are still struggling after the global recession.

Jun 29, 2010

IMF says banks remain risk for Austrian budget

VIENNA, June 29 (Reuters) – Austrian banks’ exposure in emerging Europe remains a risk for public finances and adds to pressure on the government to cut “unsustainable” deficit and debt levels, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

While this year’s deficit of 4.7 percent and the debt level of 70 percent are better than the euro zone average, the government needs to make sure it can deal with tensions which may arise because of its banks’ vulnerabilities, the IMF said.

Jun 25, 2010

ECB joins EU executive to push for wider stress tests

VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s executive and its central bank pressed member countries on Friday to stress test more of their banks than originally planned in an effort to reassure financial markets.

Top finance ministry officials from the European Union’s 27 countries gathered on Friday in Brussels to discuss how to test big banks and publish the results as part of a scheme agreed by leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Jun 25, 2010

Austrian banks well capitalised for stress -cbank

VIENNA, June 25 (Reuters) – Austria’s banking system would withstand a double dip of the Austrian and eastern European economies in which bad debt would rise sharply by the end of next year, the central bank said on Friday.

Austrian banks are among the biggest lenders in the former communist part of Europe, and the central bank said that even in its baseline scenario, risks in the region would remain elevated and keep bad debt charges on a high level for the banks.

Jun 24, 2010

Volksbanken sells property, calls off full sale

VIENNA, June 24 (Reuters) – Loss-making Austrian lender
Oesterreichische Volksbanken (OTVVp.VI: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Thursday its
search for a strategic partner had failed and it would go ahead
on its own, selling only its troubled real estate unit.

The group will sell its Europolis arm for 272 million euros
($365 million) to Austrian developer CA Immobilien (CAIV.VI: Quote, Profile, Research),
but will keep its corporate client unit Investkredit and
integrate it into the Volksbanken group next year.

Jun 18, 2010

Euro gets thumbs-up

VIENNA/MALAGA, Spain (Reuters) – Expelling members from the euro zone is no solution to the current crisis, a European central banker said on Friday, as policymakers lined up in a chorus of support for the single currency.

ECB Executive Board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said neither the option of forcing a country out or allowing it to restructure would help Greece, and having such a Plan B in place as a general measure would not be in the interests of the euro area.

    • About Boris

      "I am Reuters Chief Correspondent in Vienna and mainly cover the Austrian banking sector. I also help coordinate our coverage of banking in the broader emerging European region, where Austrian banks are among the major players."
      Joined Reuters:
      2001
      Languages:
      English, German, French
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