VIENNA, March 3 (Reuters) – Among the “bad banks” that have
emerged since the global crisis, Austria’s Heta Asset Resolution
stands out as a spectacular failure, brought down by setbacks
ranging from the demands of accounting rules to ailing Balkan
economies and a Swiss decision to let the franc surge.
Questions are swirling over how things could have gone so
wrong so quickly at Heta, carved out just last year
from the lender Hypo Alpe Adria whose demise has already caused
Austria’s worst post-war financial scandal.
* Watchdog says investors can pay for bad bank in variety of
* Bank bond yields rise as bad bank’s senior bondholders at
* Bad bank faced heavy debt redemptions this week
(Adds market reaction, investor comment, detail, changes
dateline from Vienna)
By Michael Shields and Helene Durand
VIENNA/LONDON, March 2 (Reuters/IFR) – Austria has warned
creditors of defunct lender Hypo Alpe Adria they face losses and
could even see the “bad bank” housing their debts put into
insolvency, after the state refused to plug a 7.6 billion euros
($8.5 billion) capital hole.
Austria’s financial watchdog stepped in on Sunday to take
control of bad bank Heta Asset Resolution and halted
payments on more than 11 billion euros worth of debt after an
audit showed its balance sheet was overvalued.
VIENNA, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Erste Group Bank is set
to put its problems in central and eastern Europe behind it
after tackling trouble spots Hungary and Romania, emerging
Europe’s third-biggest lender said on Friday.
The Austrian group, whose shares were up 1.8 percent in
early trade, forecast 2015 operating profit would fall short of
the 3.09 billion euros ($3.5 billion) it announced for 2014, but
its CEO Andreas Treichl was upbeat on the mid-term outlook.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Rakhat Aliyev, the Kazakh president’s former son-in-law turned political foe, was found hanging in an Austrian jail on Tuesday while awaiting trial for murder, but his lawyers doubted the official explanation that he had killed himself.
Aliyev was accused of murdering two bankers in Kazakhstan in 2007, allegations he said were trumped up by political rivals in his homeland after he fell out with former allies there.
VIENNA, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Bank Austria expects to keep
profits steady this year even if it makes less money in Russia,
the central and eastern European (CEE) arm of Italian bank
UniCredit said on Thursday.
It also played down any need for quick action to boost its
10.3 percent core capital ratio, saying its strong earnings
capacity should let it strengthen its balance sheet over time.
VIENNA, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
will put strengthening its capital position ahead of
dividend payouts, it said on Tuesday, as emerging Europe’s
second-biggest lender scales back following decades of expansion
in central and eastern Europe.
The revamp will see the Austrian bank sell operations in
Poland and Slovenia and cut back in Russia in a drive to boost a
key capital target to 12 percent of risk-weighted assets (RWAs)
by the end of 2017 from 10 percent now.
VIENNA, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
plans to sell operations in Poland and Slovenia and
cut back in Russia in a radical overhaul to help shrink its
balance sheet and hit a core capital ratio of 12 percent by the
end of 2017, it said on Monday.
Burned by hits in Ukraine and Hungary, emerging Europe’s
number two lender also announced a preliminary 2014 loss of 493
million euros ($558 million), lagging the average estimate of
455 million in a Reuters poll of analysts, and said it would not
pay an equity dividend on 2014 results.
BUDAPEST/VIENNA, Feb 9 (Reuters) – The Hungarian government
and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
will buy a stake in the Hungarian arm of Austrian bank Erste
, business website Portfolio reported on Monday, citing
A government spokeswoman declined to comment ahead of a 1500
GMT press conference where Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Erste
Group Bank Chief Executive Andreas Treichl and EBRD President
Suma Chakrabarti will sign a document. No further details were
available. Erste is emerging Europe’s third-largest lender.
VIENNA (Reuters) – The surging Swiss franc has dealt a double blow to homeowners in Austria, home of the trend for borrowing in the Swiss currency that has devastated mortgage holders across eastern Europe.
In the early 1990s, people living in the west of the country who crossed into Switzerland to work were lured by the ultra low interest rates offered in the safe-haven currency.
VIENNA, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Austrian oil and gas company OMV
warned 2015 would be tougher than last year as it cuts
investment plans , reflecting falling oil prices and uncertainty
It marks the latest test for Austria’s biggest company,
which has struggled to present a convincing strategy to
investors amid a management shakeup.