Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Aug 26, 2014

Austrian finance minister quits in tax reform row

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger unexpectedly resigned from all his posts on Tuesday, citing lack of support from his conservative People’s Party (OVP) in a row over tax reform.

But Social Democrat Chancellor Werner Faymann said he expected his coalition with the OVP to last until the next national elections in 2018.

Aug 21, 2014

Raiffeisen plays down impact of Russia sanctions

VIENNA, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank
International said it expected no significant impact
from western sanctions against Russia and would not back out of
its most profitable market.

RBI has nearly 2.8 million customers in Russia and is among
the country’s top ten banks measured by its 10-billion-euro
($13.6 billion) loan book.

Aug 20, 2014

Austria’s BAWAG says in good shape for ECB health check

VIENNA, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Austrian lender BAWAG PSK
nearly doubled net profit in the second quarter and
boosted its core capital adequacy ratio to over 11 percent, it
reported, putting it in good shape for the European regulatory
health checks now underway.

Majority owned by U.S. investor Cerberus Capital Management
, BAWAG is one of six Austrian lenders lining up for the
checks being led by the European Central Bank before it takes
over as the euro zone’s main banking regulator in November.

Aug 20, 2014

BAWAG PSK “well prepared” for bank health checks

VIENNA, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Austrian lender BAWAG PSK
is “well prepared” for the outcome of health checks
on major euro zone banks this year, Chief Executive Byron Haynes
said after the bank reported its core capital ratio had risen to
11.2 percent of risk-weighted assets in the first half.

The bank, majority owned by U.S. investor Cerberus Capital
Management, is one of six Austrian lenders undergoing
European Central Bank-led scrutiny of balance sheets before the
ECB takes on direct supervision of big lenders in November.

Aug 6, 2014

Bank Austria says can prosper in Russia despite sanctions

VIENNA, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Bank Austria, the central and
eastern Europe (CEE) arm of Italian bank UniCredit, expects to
keep making solid profits in Russia despite Western sanctions,
thanks in part to its ability to raise money locally, though it
warned of lost opportunities.

Bank Austria’s first-half pretax profit in Russia rose 3
percent to 247 million euros ($330 million), more than a quarter
of the total and making it the bank’s single most profitable
market. Russia also accounted for most of its CEE loan growth in
the period, officials told a news conference on Wednesday.

Jul 31, 2014

Erste Group aims to turn page after record 2014 loss

VIENNA, July 31 (Reuters) – Austria’s Erste Group Bank
said on Thursday that it has sought to clean up all
its balance sheet problems this year but cannot exclude further
political obstacles in its central and eastern European markets.

Emerging Europe’s third-biggest lender bit the bullet by
writing down businesses in Romania and Croatia and setting aside
an initial 130 million euros for a Hungarian law forcing banks
to compensate customers for mispriced loans, triggering a 1.03
billion euro ($1.38 billion) second-quarter loss on its way to
record red ink in 2014.

Jul 30, 2014

Russian bank subsidiaries in EU to escape sanctions: sources

VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russian bank subsidiaries based in the European Union will be exempt from EU economic sanctions designed to choke off finance for big state-owned Russian lenders, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Wednesday.

These sources said the exemption, which EU officials said they would monitor closely to avoid abuse, meant Sberbank and VTB subsidiaries could operate normally within EU member states.

Jul 29, 2014

Austrian business grits teeth, would back Russia sanctions

VIENNA, July 29 (Reuters) – Austrian businesses would back
tougher economic sanctions against Russia should Europe go down
that path, even though such measures will likely be
counterproductive, the head of the country’s Chamber of Commerce
said on Tuesday.

Christoph Leitl, one of Austria’s most vocal opponents of
levelling tough sanctions against Moscow over its role in
Ukraine’s crisis, told Reuters he could not estimate the
economic impact of stepped-up economic pressure on Russia.

Jul 8, 2014

Three suitors in race for Hypo’s Balkans business – sources

VIENNA, July 8 (Reuters) – Three main suitors are in the
running to buy the Balkans network of nationalised Austrian bank
Hypo Alpe Adria, a deal that could be signed before
the end of July, several sources close to the sale told Reuters.

Hypo’s network in southeast Europe is considered its prime
asset. The bank, nationalised in 2009 to avoid a collapse that
would have sent shock waves through the region, is winding down
its other businesses.

Jul 8, 2014

Austrian lower house approves Hypo haircut law

VIENNA, July 8 (Reuters) – The lower house of Austria’s
parliament approved legislation on Tuesday that would wipe out
some subordinated creditors of nationalised lender Hypo Alpe
Adria despite guarantees from its home province, entering
uncharted territory for debt markets.

The government insists its move, which still needs to pass
the upper house and be signed by the president, is a one-off
step to ensure Hypo investors help pay to wind down a bank that
has cost 5.5 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in public aid so far.

    • About Michael

      "Mike has worked for Reuters for two decades and reported from more than a dozen countries on business and general news. His beats have included covering the European automotive industry, business news from Switzerland, German defense and security policy, and Hungary's transition to a market democracy after the collapse of communism in eastern Europe"
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