European Technology, Media and Telecoms Correspondent
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Aug 13, 2014

Accounting issue hits Telekom Austria results

VIENNA, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Telekom Austria said an
unexpected accounting issue overshadowed improvements at its
Austrian business and pushed it to a bigger than forecast loss
in the second quarter.

The former state monopoly, which was taken over by Carlos
Slim’s America Movil last month, said new accounting
software revealed it had overestimated unbilled revenues in its
Austrian fixed-line business.

Aug 12, 2014

OMV profits drop as Libya crisis causes higher costs

VIENNA, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Austrian oil and gas group OMV’s
underlying operating profit halved in the second
quarter as an ongoing crisis in Libya forced it to raise
production in higher-cost countries.

OMV, which is investing heavily in new exploration projects
to cut its reliance on margin-squeezed refining and marketing,
said its production costs rose 42 percent per barrel due to a
greater contribution from Norway and higher costs in Romania.

Aug 1, 2014

Student starts global class action against Facebook

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian law student Max Schrems appealed to a billion Facebook users around the world on Friday to join a class-action lawsuit against Facebook’s alleged violations of its users’ privacy, stepping up a years-long data-protection campaign.

Schrems, a thorn in Facebook’s side who has a case involving the social network pending at the European Court of Justice, has filed a claim at Vienna’s commercial court and invited others to join the action at www.fbclaim.com using their Facebook login.

Jul 31, 2014

Austrian president signs Hypo “haircut” law

VIENNA, July 31 (Reuters) – Austrian President Heinz Fischer
has signed a law that will wipe out the claims of subordinated
debt holders in nationalised bank Hypo Alpe Adria,
his office said on Thursday.

Fischer said he had concerns about the law, which enters
uncharted territory for debt markets because the creditors had
guarantees from Hypo’s home province, but had to sign it to free
the way for Austria’s constitutional court to examine it.

Jul 24, 2014

Advent, Bulgarian group in lead to buy Hypo Balkans -sources

VIENNA, July 24 (Reuters) – Private equity firm Advent
International and a Bulgarian-Russian consortium led by
businessman Denis Barekov are favourites to buy Hypo Alpe
Adria’s Balkan bank network, two sources familiar with the
process said.

Hypo, which had to be nationalised by Austria in
2009 after a period of unsustainable expansion in the former
Yugoslavia, is selling off its Balkan network, its prime asset,
while hiving off its toxic assets into a bad bank.

Jul 22, 2014

Talks for Austrian chipmaker AMS to buy Dialog collapse

FRANKFURT/VIENNA (Reuters) – Talks for Austrian chipmaker AMS (AMS.S: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to buy German peer Dialog Semiconductor (DLGS.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) have collapsed, with the two firms blaming differences over price and future strategy.

Dialog and AMS said last month they were in “very preliminary” talks over a deal that could have created a European chipmaker with a market value of about $4.7 billion, and potentially a stronger business to tap the burgeoning market for web-connected devices. AMS makes electronic sensors, which can measure everything from air pollution to the human heartbeat, while Dialog’s chips manage power consumption. Both firms supply chips to Apple (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for iPhones and iPads.

Jun 26, 2014

Gazprom in talks to buy Abu Dhabi’s OMV stake – source

ABU DHABI/VIENNA, June 26 (Reuters) – Russia’s Gazprom
is in talks to buy Abu Dhabi’s 24.9 percent stake in
Austrian oil and gas firm OMV, a source familiar with
the talks told Reuters on Thursday.

“Talks were held but they have yet to decide on pricing,”
the source said, confirming comments from an Austrian member of
parliament, who told Kurier newspaper and Reuters he had
“concrete indications” that Abu Dhabi fund IPIC and Gazprom had
held discussions on the issue.

Jun 25, 2014

European recovery, restructuring help lift Zumtobel’s sales

VIENNA, June 25 (Reuters) – Austrian lighting group
Zumtobel’s fourth-quarter sales rose by a higher than
expected 8 percent, it reported on Wednesday, thanks to strong
growth in Asia, recovery in Europe and a fundamental
restructuring.

Despite posting a net loss due to restructuring charges,
Zumtobel also raised its dividend to 0.18 euros ($0.24) per
share for the year ended April 30, up from 0.07 euros last time
and ahead of the 0.13 euros average forecast given by analysts
in a Reuters poll.

Jun 24, 2014

Austria signs Russian pipeline deal, hosts rare Putin visit

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria gave its final approval to a controversial Russian gas pipeline project on Tuesday, defying EU officials and welcoming Russian President Vladimir Putin to the neutral country that has been a long-standing energy customer for Moscow.

The chief executives of Russia’s Gazprom and Austria’s OMV sealed the deal to build a branch of the South Stream gas pipeline to Austria, a staunch defender of the project in the face of opposition from the European Commission.

Jun 24, 2014

Gazprom says EU South Stream dialogue constructive

VIENNA, June 24 (Reuters) – Russia’s Gazprom is in
constructive talks with the European Commission about its
disputed South Stream gas pipeline, its chief executive said
after signing a deal on Tuesday with OMV to extend a
branch to Austria.

Alexei Miller said he was in weekly if not daily contact
with European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger. “We solve
problems as they come up, and now the problem of construction of
the pipeline is to be solved,” Miller told a news conference.

    • About Georgina

      "Currently based in London, with particular responsibility for professional publishers and the European activities of global technology, media and telecoms firms. Previously European technology correspondent based in Frankfurt. Began career in local radio in Glasgow and then worked in TV news for many years for Reuters, the BBC and Sky News in London and Moscow."
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