Chief Correspondent, Austria, Vienna, Austria
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Mar 18, 2010

BAWAG’s losses narrow in 2009, cuts toxic assets

VIENNA, March 18 (Reuters) – BAWAG P.S.K., Austria’s fifth
biggest bank, narrowed its losses sharply in 2009, it reported
on Thursday, as it reversed writedowns on toxic assets that
lost it over 500 million euros in 2008.

The bank, owned by U.S. private equity group Cerberus
[CBS.UL], posted a net loss of 22.2 million euros ($30.3
million) and boosted its Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio to 10
percent with the help of state and shareholder capital
injections, it said.

Mar 8, 2010
via DealZone

RZB value = zero? Markets think so

Photo

Emerging Europe’s No.2 lender Raiffeisen International and its unlisted parent, cooperative bank RZB, on Feb. 22 preempted a Reuters scoop and disclosed that they were considering to put their businesses together. This would add to Raiffeisen’s business, currently exclusively in the former Communist part of Europe, a franchise serving large Austrian and international companies and institutional investors. Analysts and investors have been concerned because they can’t easily put a value on RZB’s business ex-Raiffeisen, and many fear they may be put at a disadvantage in the merger. The 21 percent drop in Raiffeisen’s shares makes it possible to quantify this concern. Raiffeisen International CEO Stepic and RZB CEO Rothensteiner address a news conference in Vienna. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

The planned deal – which Raiffeisen and RZB say is still only one of several options – would be implemented under a procedure known as statutory merger in German and Austrian share law. Here’s how it works: Auditors – one for each company and a third, appointed by a court – review the two companies business plans for the next 10 years and from that derive a valuation for each of the two companies. Based on that valuation, they calculate an exchange ratio for the swap of both companies’ current shareholdings into the shareholdings in the new, merged company.

Feb 23, 2010

Raiffeisen sheds 12% on possible merger with parent

VIENNA, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen International
<RIBH.VI>, emerging Europe’s second-biggest bank, shed almost 12
percent of its value on Tuesday as investors feared a possible
merger with parent RZB [RZB.UL] could slow growth at the lender.

Late Monday the Vienna-based bank said it might merge with
unlisted cooperative bank and 70 percent shareholder RZB, in a
deal that would give the combined group a share listing and help
the parent raise much needed capital on the market.

Feb 11, 2010

EU finance ministers agreed IMF role in Greek aid: source

VIENNA (Reuters) – Euro area finance ministers agreed their countries would take “determined and coordinated action” to help Greece, drawing on IMF expertise but not the Fund’s money, an EU government source said on Thursday.

Greece will have to commit to additional fiscal measures for the aid to kick in, said the source, who requested anonymity because the ministers had agreed to keep confidential the result of the conference call they held on Wednesday.

Feb 11, 2010

EU finmins agreed IMF role in Greek aid -source

VIENNA, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Euro area finance ministers
agreed their countries would take “determined and coordinated
action” to help Greece, drawing on IMF expertise but not the
Fund’s money, an EU government source said on Thursday.

Greece will have to commit to additional fiscal measures for
the aid to kick in, said the source, who requested anonymity
because the ministers had agreed to keep confidential the result
of the conference call they held on Wednesday.

Feb 9, 2010

ECB says can’t bail out Greece, sees contagion risk

VIENNA/HELSINKI, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Greece must get its own
house in order itself as the European Central Bank cannot bail
it out, two ECB policymakers reiterated on Tuesday.

“Greece, being a euro country, is under the regime of euro
regulations, and so the main policy approach is of course that
they have to solve the problems themselves,” ECB Governing
Council member Ewald Nowotny said in an interview.

Feb 5, 2010
via DealZone

Noted: Raiffeisen capital hike could boost EPS

Photo

HSBC analyst Johannes Thormann suggests an elegant way for Raiffeisen International, the Vienna-based No.2 bank in emerging Europe, to sell new shares this year. While the bank is relatively well capitalised for the time being, with core Tier 1 at 8.7 percent at the end of Q3, this was only thanks to a 1.25 billion euro injection from its unlisted 70-percent parent RZB, which passed on some of the Austrian government capital it received itself last year.

It was a shareholder-friendly idea of RZB to inject 600 million euros of this capital by way of non-voting “participation rights” which didn’t dilute shareholders at a time when the share price was battered because of lingering concerns eastern Europe was facing a financial meltdown. (The remaining 650 million euros are a straight Tier 1 hybrid.) But the flip side was that those participation rights carry a steep 10 percent coupon that goes out after the net profit line, i.e. is after taxes.

Dec 12, 2009

Austria seeks Saturday talks on Hypo rescue

VIENNA/MUNICH, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Austria’s Finance
Minister invited his counterpart from the German state of
Bavaria for Saturday talks on how to rescue Hypo Group Alpe
Adria, Austria’s sixth-biggest bank and a major lender in the
former Yugoslavia.

The invitation followed talks that continued into early
Saturday between ministry officials, the head of Hypo’s main
shareholder, Bavarian state bank BayernLB [BAYLB.UL], and
representatives of other shareholders.

Dec 10, 2009

Greek fate is euro zone responsibility, says Merkel

VIENNA/BONN, Germany, Dec 10 (Reuters) – The euro zone has a
collective duty to secure the fate of debt-stricken member
Greece, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, even as other
European policymakers said Athens should cure its own ills.

Greece has vowed to do whatever it takes to check its vast
deficit, responding to a beating on markets unnerved by Fitch
Ratings cutting Greek debt to BBB+ with a negative outlook,
citing fiscal deterioration in the euro zone’s weakest member.

Dec 9, 2009

Telekom Austria slumps after warns on 2010 earnings

VIENNA, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Telekom Austria’s <TELA.VI> earnings will decline next year as customers abandon its domestic fixed-line service and price pressure from both regulators and competitors stays high, the group said.

Shares in the partly state-owned group declined by 11 percent on the news, to 10.18 euros by 1604 GMT, on track for their biggest drop in more than a year and topping the list of losers in the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index.

    • 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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