European Technology, Media and Telecoms Correspondent
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Feb 3, 2014

Verbund rejects capital call for Italy’s Sorgenia

VIENNA/MILAN, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Austria’s Verbund
has rejected its partly owned Sorgenia unit’s call for funds,
jeopardising the chances that talks with creditor banks on a
debt standstill will succeed.

The loss-making Italian energy company, controlled by
holding company CIR, is trying to negotiate freezing
repayments on almost 1.8 billion euros ($2.4 billion) of debt
until June.

Jan 31, 2014

Austria paves way for Slim Telekom Austria takeover

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria is open to Carlos Slim’s America Movil (AMXL.MX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) taking a majority stake in Telekom Austria (TELA.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the head of the state holding company said, paving the way for a long-awaited move by the billionaire investor.

Rudolf Kemler said it was a “secondary question” whether Slim, who is keen to reduce his dependence on the increasingly regulated Mexican market, bought a majority of Telekom Austria as long as the Austrian government kept at least 25 percent.

Jan 17, 2014

Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz to push EU-Balkan ties

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s new Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz will champion European Union membership for qualifying Balkan countries when he meets EU counterparts next week, he told Reuters on Friday.

It will be the first formal meeting of EU foreign ministers for Kurz, just 27 and a rising star in the People’s Party who got the top foreign policy job last month in a cabinet reshuffle after September elections.

Jan 16, 2014

Carlos Slim consolidates stakes in Telekom Austria

VIENNA, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos
Slim has agreed to consolidate his company and family stakes in
Telekom Austria, clarifying his position in the eyes
of regulators that monitor when stakeholdings become large
enough to trigger takeover bids.

Slim’s America Movil will own 26.8 percent of
Telekom Austria after buying a 3.14 percent stake from a family
foundation, enough to veto big decisions at the Austrian firm
but below the 30-percent mandatory takeover offer threshold.

Jan 15, 2014

Emerging Europe central banks shrug off tapering fears

VIENNA, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Emerging European countries are
casting a wary eye on capital flows as the United States starts
to unwind stimulus but see no urgent need to adjust monetary
policy, central bankers from the region said on Wednesday.

Expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve would begin to
scale back – or “taper” – extraordinary economic stimulus first
hit markets in May, prompting many investors to pull funds out
of emerging markets seen as risky.

Dec 28, 2013

Removal of chemical weapons from Syria delayed: watchdog

VIENNA (Reuters) – The removal of deadly toxins from Syria under an international effort to rid the nation of its chemical arsenal will likely miss a December 31 deadline, the global chemical arms watchdog said.

Bad weather and shifting battlefronts in Syria’s civil war have delayed the delivery of essential supplies to sites where the toxins are being prepared to be sent to Latakia port, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said.

Dec 20, 2013

Vienna Philharmonic revokes honors to Nazis

VIENNA (Reuters) – The famed Vienna Philharmonic orchestra has revoked awards it made during Hitler’s rule to six leading Nazis, as it quietly responds to criticism of the way it has dealt with its past.

The symbolic move, decided in October but not publicly announced, follows the Philharmonic’s publication earlier this year of details of its conduct during the Nazi era, which it revealed for the first time.

Dec 19, 2013

Carlyle ventures into Europe’s ailing refining sector

VIENNA (Reuters) – Private equity giant Carlyle Group (CG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) made a surprise foray into Europe’s struggling refining sector by teaming up with Swiss trading house Vitol VITOLV.UL to co-own refining, storage and distribution assets in Switzerland and Germany.

Carlyle, which has $185 billion globally under management, and Vitol, the world’s largest oil trader, launched on Thursday a 50/50 venture Varo Energy, which bought 45 percent in Germany’s 260,000 barrels per day Bayernoil refinery from Austrian group OMV (OMVV.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Dec 14, 2013

Austria’s Freedom aims to enlarge Eurosceptic bloc

VIENNA (Reuters) – A core of six Eurosceptic parties is aiming to win over another four right-wing parties to create a new political group in the EU parliament, the leader of Austria’s Freedom Party said.

In the run up to May’s EU-wide elections to the parliament, momentum is building to create a grouping of nationalist parties which would entitle members to more office space and support staff as well as EU funds for meetings and publicity.

Dec 12, 2013

Austrian govt accord boosts bank levy surcharge-sources

VIENNA, Dec 12 (Reuters) – The coalition accord struck by
Austria’s two big parties on Thursday calls for increasing a
bank levy surcharge that the country imposed last year, two
sources familiar with the agreement said.

Austria launched a special bank levy in 2011 to help recoup
costs of propping up the sector during the financial crisis. The
underlying levy, originally supposed to last until 2017, raises
around 500 million euros ($690 million) a year.

    • 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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