Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Dec 13, 2013

‘Cerebral’ Spindelegger takes on Austrian finances

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian conservative leader Michael Spindelegger, set to replace the combative Maria Fekter as the euro zone country’s finance minister, is as plain vanilla as Fekter is brash.

A man who describes himself as cerebral, responsible and calm has put himself into the finance ministry hot seat in a cabinet shake-up accompanying a new version of the coalition his OVP People’s Party struck with the Social Democrats.

Dec 12, 2013

Austrian govt accord boosts bank levy surcharge-sources

VIENNA, Dec 12 (Reuters) – The coalition accord struck by
Austria’s two big parties on Thursday calls for increasing a
bank levy surcharge that the country imposed last year, two
sources familiar with the agreement said.

Austria launched a special bank levy in 2011 to help recoup
costs of propping up the sector during the financial crisis. The
underlying levy, originally supposed to last until 2017, raises
around 500 million euros ($690 million) a year.

Dec 12, 2013

Mainstream parties clinch Austrian coalition deal

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s mainstream pro-Europe parties agreed on Thursday to govern in coalition for the next five years, promising to ensure continued prosperity in the Alpine euro zone nation.

The Social Democrats (SPO) and conservative People’s Party (OVP) had promised a new, progressive approach to politics after September elections in which voters tired of party paralysis punished them and bolstered the far right.

Dec 11, 2013

Verbund says needs more time to decide on gas plants

VIENNA, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Energy group Verbund
needs more time to decide the future of its struggling gas-fired
power plants, which it had hoped to resolve by the end of the
year, it said on Wednesday.

Verbund is battling a difficult environment for gas power
plants in Europe, where demand is low due to a weak economic
climate, while competing renewable energy sources are being
heavily subsidised in neighbouring Germany, the continent’s
biggest economy.

Dec 11, 2013

Austrian banks set to pass stress tests: central bank

VIENNA (Reuters) – Six Austrian banks will hold up well in European stress tests next year that are designed to gauge whether the region’s banks can withstand tough market conditions, the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) said on Wednesday.

OeNB Governor Ewald Nowotny gave an upbeat view of how domestic banks would fare in the stress tests that aim to reassure investors about the resilience of 128 big euro zone banks in the wake of the financial crisis.

Dec 10, 2013

Big parties near Austrian coalition deal, avoid big changes

VIENNA (Reuters) – The two big pro-Europe parties that have dominated post-war Austrian politics are closing in on a deal to extend their coalition government by eschewing major change in favor of largely staying the course.

Barring last-minute surprises, Chancellor Werner Faymann’s center-left Social Democrats (SPO) and their junior partners, the conservative People’s Party (OVP), will unveil a deal in days to extend the coalition that has governed since 2006.

Dec 9, 2013

Privatisations at issue in Austria coalition talks

VIENNA, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Austrian conservatives are pushing
to sell more state-owned shares in big companies such as OMV
, Telekom Austria or Austrian Post
as coalition talks heat up with the Social Democrats.

The two big parties that have dominated post-war politics
have laboured to strike a deal that could keep them governing
together after September elections that weakened them both and
bolstered the euro sceptic right wing.

Dec 3, 2013

Russian banks exposed in Ukraine political crisis

VIENNA/MOSCOW, Dec 3 (Reuters) – The political crisis in
Ukraine, sparked by an East-West power struggle in which Moscow
has gained the upper hand, is increasing the risk to the
country’s financial system and creating a particularly acute
headache for Russian banks.

As crowds took to the streets to protest after President
Viktor Yanukovich rejected a trade and cooperation deal with the
European Union last week in favour of closer ties with Russia,
its rattled central bank, low on reserves, appealed to people
not to pull their deposits from the banks.

Dec 3, 2013

UniCredit not put off by Ukraine turmoil

VIENNA (Reuters) – Unicredit will not walk away from Ukraine because of political unrest, particularly as its business there has been doing better than rivals, the Italian bank’s head of central and eastern Europe (CEE) said.

Gianni Franco Papa also told reporters in Vienna that CEE’s leading lender would have to reconsider its business in Hungary if Budapest imposes another round of taxes on banks, and that he was not worried about stress testing of its bank in Slovenia.

Nov 27, 2013

Raiffeisen Bank Int’l unfazed by looming stress tests

VIENNA, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
(RBI) played down the potential impact from ECB-led
health checks of bank balance sheets next year and kept its
options open for beefing up its financial strength ahead of
repaying Austrian state aid.

Excluding 1.75 billion euros ($2.38 billion) in state aid
that needs to be repaid in just over three years, Vienna-based
RBI is undercapitalised versus regional rivals such as UniCredit
Bank Austria and Erste Group.

    • 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"
      Joined Reuters:
      1987
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