European Technology, Media and Telecoms Correspondent
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Jun 12, 2013

Verbund takes 1 bln euros writedown as power prices fall

VIENNA, June 12 (Reuters) – Austrian hydropower firm Verbund
said it would write down its assets by 1.13 billion
euros ($1.5 billion) and cut investments again as electricity
markets deteriorated sharply.

Verbund said it expected 2013 earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 1.15 billion euros, up
from its previous estimate of 1 billion, due to cash inflows and
non-recurring effects from an asset swap with E.ON.

Jun 7, 2013

U.S. surveillance revelations deepen European fears of Web giants

VIENNA/BRUSSELS, June 7 (Reuters) – Europeans reacted
angrily on Friday to revelations that U.S. authorities had
tapped the servers of Internet companies for personal data,
saying such activity confirmed their worst fears about American
Web giants’ reach and showed tighter regulations were needed.

The Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers aroused
broad outrage with reports that the National Security Agency
(NSA) and the FBI had accessed central servers of Google
, Facebook and other big Internet companies and
gathered millions of phone users’ data.

Jun 7, 2013

U.S. surveillance revelations deepen European fears

VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans reacted angrily on Friday to revelations that U.S. authorities had tapped the servers of internet companies for personal data, saying they confirmed their worst fears about American Web giants and showed tighter regulations were needed.

The Washington Post and the Guardian aroused outrage with reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI had accessed central servers of Google, Facebook and others and gathered millions of phone users’ data.

May 28, 2013

Russian gas pipeline could doom Europe’s Nabucco plan

VIENNA/BRUSSELS, May 28 (Reuters) – Europe’s grand plan for
a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea that would make its eastern
states less reliant on Russia may have been fatally undermined
by Russia’s even bigger project.

As Azerbaijan nears a decision on which pipeline to choose
for its future exports, the Nabucco plan that was long the
European Union favourite could lose out to the more modest Trans
Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) across Greece to southern Italy.

May 24, 2013

Raiffeisen CEO quits over offshore deals

VIENNA (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International (RBIV.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Herbert Stepic resigned on Friday in what he called an effort to spare his bank from negative publicity over personal property deals that triggered scrutiny by the lender and regulators.

Stepic, 66, again denied wrongdoing in using front companies in the Caribbean and Asia to buy flats in Singapore in 2006 and 2008 – deals exposed by the Offshore Leaks investigative journalism project – but said he decided to quit out of loyalty to Raiffeisen.

May 24, 2013

Raiffeisen CEO offers to quit as offshore deals probed

VIENNA, May 24 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International’s
Chief Executive Herbert Stepic offered to resign after
authorities said they would investigate personal offshore
property deals he made.

Stepic, 66, was named as having made use of front companies
in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’
Offshore Leaks project, a campaign to expose the owners of
trusts in tax havens. He has denied wrongdoing.

May 16, 2013

Austria misses EU deadline to sell Kommunalkredit

VIENNA, May 16 (Reuters) – Austria’s Kommunalkredit
could still be sold and does not need to be wound
down, the country’s market watchdog said on Thursday after
Vienna missed an EU privatisation deadline for the lender.

The sale of Kommunalkredit, a public-sector finance
specialist nationalised in 2008, was required under the terms of
Austria’s bailout. Its failure adds to the country’s problems
with the European Commission, which is already questioning state
aid to another Austrian bank.

May 14, 2013

OMV says higher profits help its investment plans

VIENNA, May 14 (Reuters) – Austrian energy group OMV
reported higher-than-expected profit and cash flow for
the first quarter after downstream activities reversed a
year-ago loss, and said this would help it pursue its ambitious
investment programme.

OMV is switching focus from refining and selling oil and gas
to higher-risk but higher-reward exploration and production, and
plans a hike in investments this year. It is exploring what may
be its biggest ever gas find, in the Black Sea.

May 8, 2013

Telekom Austria raises cost savings target

VIENNA (Reuters) – Telekom Austria (TELA.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plans to save over 110 million euros ($144 million) in costs this year, more than its previous target of 100 million, as price wars rage despite market consolidation in Austria, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The company reported a drop in earnings late on Tuesday that was less steep than the market had feared but said it expected price competition to intensify.

May 7, 2013

Telekom Austria fights price wars with fewer rivals

VIENNA, May 7 (Reuters) – Telekom Austria said it
expected price competition to intensify in its major markets,
rather than diminish as had been hoped by Austrian carriers
after a consolidation of the market.

Until last year, Austria had four mobile carriers fighting
over a population of just 8.4 million. That was cut to three
with Hutchison Whampoa’s takeover of Orange Austria
in January, but price pressure has not relented.

    • 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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