European Technology, Media and Telecoms Correspondent
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Feb 27, 2014

Kardashian confronts tradition at elite Vienna ball

VIENNA (Reuters) – At 24, Olga Goreglyad is a veteran of society balls around Europe but her ambition will not be fulfilled until she dances on Thursday night as a debutante at Vienna’s Opera Ball – something celebrity guest Kim Kardashian will not be doing.

Almost every social group and profession in Austria, from confectioners to firefighters and pharmacists to refugees, holds its own ball, but the Opera Ball is the most elite, with a presidential opening and top-class music and ballet.

Feb 26, 2014

Telekom Austria freezes dividend for third year

VIENNA, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Telekom Austria said it
would freeze its dividend for the third year in a row, as sales
and profits fell sharply in the fourth quarter due to tough
competition in its main markets.

The company, expected to be the target of a takeover bid by
Carlos Slim’s America Movil, said on Wednesday
fourth-quarter core profit fell 18 percent as sales dropped in
Austria, Bulgaria and Croatia – its biggest markets.

Feb 25, 2014

Slim closes in on pact to secure Telekom Austria

VIENNA, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Carlos Slim’s America Movil and
the Austrian government are moving towards a deal to pool their
stakes in Telekom Austria, which would lead to a
takeover offer and mark a further step in the Mexican tycoon’s
expansion in Europe.

Austria’s economy minister said on Tuesday talks about
creating a pact, which both parties said had been informal so
far, could wrap up within weeks.

Feb 25, 2014

RHI aims to get a grip on Norway plant within two years

VIENNA, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Austrian fireproof materials
maker RHI is confident it can make profitable within
two years a Norwegian plant whose troubles cut into the
company’s full-year results.

Chief Executive Franz Strutzl said on Tuesday the idea of
shutting down the magnesia-fusion plant was now off the table,
as major technical problems had been resolved, although work
remained to be done to reduce production costs.

Feb 22, 2014

Austria should stand by Hypo creditors: Nowotny

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria should not demand creditors of struggling state bank Hypo Alpe Adria HAABI.UL take a “haircut” on the debt, central bank head Ewald Nowotny said, contradicting the country’s finance minister.

Nowotny, who was on Friday put in charge of a task force set up to advise the government on how to wind down Hypo after its previous chief quit, said Austria’s reputation was at stake if it did not stand by its obligations.

Feb 19, 2014

OMV profit halves on Libya, Yemen unrest and weak demand

VIENNA, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Austrian oil and gas group OMV
said unrest in Libya and Yemen as well as low refining
margins and gas prices cut fourth-quarter adjusted operating
profit by 54 percent.

However, the company, which is investing heavily in
exploration and production (E&P) while struggling with weak
demand in Europe, confirmed a 2014 production target despite the
volatile security situation in North Africa and the Middle East.

Feb 12, 2014

Immofinanz buys German homes, plans Buwog spin-off

VIENNA/MILAN, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Austrian property group
Immofinanz said it had agreed to buy 18,000 German
homes for about 892 million euros ($1.21 billion), paving the
way for a spin-off of its Buwog unit.

Italy’s Prelios, one of the two sellers along with
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, said on Wednesday
the price comprised 162 million euros in equity, 736 million
euros in debt, and working capital.

Feb 11, 2014

Voestalpine cuts profit view on weak energy industry

VIENNA, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine
cut its full-year profit forecast on Tuesday, hit by
falling prices for pipeline and power station projects due to
weak demand in the energy sector.

Voestalpine said it now expected core and operating profit
“somewhat beneath” last year’s levels instead of stable, after
reporting third-quarter earnings and sales that were well below
analysts’ expectations.

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.

    • 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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