European Technology, Media and Telecoms Correspondent
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Mar 8, 2013

Moody’s keeps negative outlook on Austrian banking

VIENNA, March 8 (Reuters) – Moody’s kept its negative
outlook for Austria’s banking system on Friday, citing a
weakening operating environment, rising bad debt charges and a
limited capacity of many banks to absorb losses.

The credit ratings agency said these negative factors were
only partly counter-balanced by what it saw as the modest
funding risks of most Austrian banks.

Mar 6, 2013

Verbund misses profit forecasts as demand stagnates

VIENNA, March 6 (Reuters) – Austrian energy group Verbund’s
profits rose less than expected in 2012 as electricity
prices fell due to stagnating demand in the recession-hit euro
zone and market upheaval in Germany, the continent’s biggest
market.

European utilities have resorted to selling off assets amid
weak demand from manufacturers, key consumers of energy and
plunging wholesale prices in Germany, where heavy subsidies for
renewables are causing a glut.

Feb 26, 2013

Restructuring hit sends Austria’s Wienerberger to loss

VIENNA, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Wienerberger, the
world’s biggest brickmaker, posted an unexpected net loss for
2012 on Tuesday because of high restructuring costs for its
struggling European bricks business.

Shares in the Austrian company fell more than 4 percent
despite a forecast for rising core profit this year in the
expectation that its strong pipes business, improved earnings in
North America and cost savings will offset a weak European
market.

Feb 25, 2013

Cellar victim Kampusch raped, starved in film of her ordeal

VIENNA (Reuters) – A new film based on the story of Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch shows her being repeatedly raped by captor who beat and starved her during the eight-and-a-half years that he kept her in a cellar beneath his house.

Kampusch was snatched on her way to school at the age of 10 by Wolfgang Priklopil and held in a windowless cell under his house near Vienna until she escaped in 2006, causing a sensation in Austria and abroad. Priklopil committed suicide.

Feb 11, 2013

Ex-Telekom Austria exec tells court he’s sorry for share scandal

VIENNA, Feb 11 (Reuters) – A former Telekom Austria
boss on trial for his part in a market manipulation
scandal apologized for approving a payment to a banker who
bought shares in the company, triggering bonuses for dozens of
managers.

In the first court case resulting from multiple corruption
probes into the company, Rudolf Fischer said he had okayed the
500,000 euro ($669,000) payment but had not known it would be
delivered in cash in a plastic bag at a popular Vienna market.

Feb 7, 2013

Voestalpine keeps profit goal despite slow economy

VIENNA, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine
stuck to its outlook for an earnings gain for the full
year to end-March despite what it called tougher market
conditions, as it reported higher quarterly profits due to cost
cuts.

Voestalpine is insulated from weak demand for commodity
steel thanks to its focus on special steels and other niche
products. It is embarking on a global growth plan at a time when
most steelmakers are cutting costs.

Jan 31, 2013

BP sees pipeline rivals equal in Azeri gas race

By Georgina Prodhan

VIENNA, Jan 31(Reuters) – The two consortiums competing to
pipe Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea gas into Western European markets
still have an equal chance of success, the Shah Deniz gas field
operator BP said on Thursday.

The Shah Deniz consortium is expected to choose by mid-2013
whether to pipe gas from the Shah Deniz development into Austria
through the proposed Nabucco West pipeline or into Italy through
the rival Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project.

Jan 20, 2013

Neutral Austria votes to keep military draft

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrians voted to keep military conscription on Sunday, bucking a trend towards replacing conscripts with professional armies in Western Europe that began with the end of the Cold War.

The neutral Alpine nation that once stood at the frontier between the Warsaw Pact and NATO voted 60 percent in favor of maintaining the draft, which is seen as binding civil society to the military and instilling a sense of citizenship in young men.

Dec 21, 2012

Conwert buys 60 percent stake in KWG

VIENNA, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Conwert Immobilien is
to buy 60 percent of German residential property group Kommunale
Wohnen from its major shareholder, boosting the
Austrian company’s German portfolio by two thirds.

Conwert said on Friday it would finance the acquisition of
Hamburg-based KWG roughly equally in cash and shares and would
soon start a new buyback programme for up to 2.5 million shares
that will run until the end of March.

Dec 19, 2012

Voestalpine plans fast growth in Asia, Americas

VIENNA, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Austrian steel group Voestalpine
plans to boost its sales by two-thirds by 2020 through
aggressive expansion in the Americas and Asia to offset sluggish
demand and excess capacity in Europe.

The company aims to increase its sales to 20 billion euros
($26 billion) over the next eight years while maintaining
profitability, helped by a new half billion-euro plant in North
America that will supply cheaper raw materials for steelmaking.

    • 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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