European Technology, Media and Telecoms Correspondent
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Sep 18, 2014

Bayer reshapes with plan to list plastics unit

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s Bayer plans to list its less profitable plastics business on the stock market in a deal that could value the division at around 10 billion euros ($13 billion) as it seeks to focus entirely on healthcare and crop science.

News of the planned spin-off of the MaterialScience unit, which has a core profit margin of 9.5 percent compared with the group’s 20.9 percent, lifted Bayer shares to a record high. It follows a wider healthcare industry trend to streamline operations.

Sep 4, 2014

Bilfinger shakes investor trust with third profit warning

FRANKFURT, Sept 4 (Reuters) – German industrial services and
construction company Bilfinger said it was
“reasonably” sure it could meet new profit forecasts after
cutting them for a third time in two months because of weak
power markets, driving its shares down 11 percent.

Bilfinger said a reorganisation designed to reduce the
company’s exposure to price wars in the construction market had
resulted in internal disarray that compounded the effect of
weakened demand for its services from struggling utilities.

Sep 3, 2014

Bilfinger warns on profit again after CEO exit

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German industrial services and construction group Bilfinger on Wednesday issued its third profit warning since the end of June, saying it had reevaluated risks and opportunities since its chief executive quit in August.

Bilfinger, whose ex-Chief Executive Officer Roland Koch had orchestrated an ill-timed reshuffle at Bilfinger away from civil engineering and construction in favor of higher-margin industrial services, slashed its forecasts for full-year operating and net profit.

Aug 28, 2014

Poland more worried about zloty strength than weakness – head

ALPBACH, Austria, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Poland is more
concerned about the potential for the zloty to
strengthen than to weaken, central bank Governor Marek Belka
said on Thursday, adding the fall in consumer prices required a
revision of the bank’s inflation forecasts.

Belka’s comments contrasted with the last ones he made in
July, when he said that achieving sustainable growth required
real interest rates to be kept at a relatively high level when
inflation is very low.

Aug 27, 2014

Hypo Alpe Adria says will not need more capital

ALPBACH, Austria, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Nationalised Austrian
lender Hypo Alpe Adria will not need any more state
aid before being broken up later this year, with most of its
assets to be put into a “bad bank.”

The bank, which has already received around 5.5 billion
euros in state aid since 2008, will not now need another 700
million euros (924 million US dollar) in state aid as originally
agreed, a Hypo spokesman said on Wednesday.

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 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.

    • 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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