European Technology, Media and Telecoms Correspondent
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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.

Apr 30, 2013

Strabag slashes dividend after profit collapse

VIENNA, April 30 (Reuters) – Austrian construction group
Strabag chopped its 2012 dividend by two thirds and
said a profit collapse was due to its own mistakes as well as
austerity measures hurting the sector.

Central and eastern Europe’s biggest builder by market share
reported its first drop in operating profit in 27 years after
taking hits for uncollected payments, participation in
loss-making projects and over-ambitious acquisitions.

Apr 26, 2013

Austria paves way for EU bank secrecy talks

VIENNA, April 26 (Reuters) – Austria dropped its blockade of
European Union efforts to negotiate accords cracking down on
cross-border tax cheats, unveiling on Friday proposals that
would allow scrutiny of foreigners’ accounts while keeping bank
secrecy for Austrians.

After weeks of political wrangling, leaders of the two
coalition parties laid out joint priorities for talks with EU
partners starting next week that could pave the way for deals
with countries like Switzerland and the United States.

Apr 26, 2013

Austria struggles for unity before EU tax talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – Domestic politics are bedevilling Austria’s efforts to forge a unified stance on easing banking secrecy just days before initial talks with European Union partners on how to crack down on cross-border tax cheats.

Austria is the only one of the EU’s 27 states yet to agree to routinely share data on bank accounts held by foreigners, after Luxembourg bowed to pressure this month to end decades of banking secrecy that helped make it a major financial center.

Apr 25, 2013

Analysis: Centuries-old Vienna bourse seeks lifeline in Warsaw

VIENNA/WARSAW (Reuters) – The venerable Vienna Stock Exchange swallowed centuries of national pride this month to enter into talks that could lead to a merger with its upstart rival in Warsaw.

Vienna, the central capital market of the Habsburg Empire in the eighteenth century and later gateway to central and eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain, has been usurped by the Warsaw exchange GPW.WA, with its friendly regulation and privatisations, as the main arena for investing in the region.

    • 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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