Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Jun 6, 2014

Austria rolls dice with Hypo debt haircut law

VIENNA, June 6 (Reuters) – Austria will enter uncharted
territory for bond markets next week when it unveils legislation
designed to force some subordinated creditors of Hypo Alpe Adria
to help pay for winding down the stricken
nationalised bank.

It is a plan entirely in line with the latest thinking in
Europe on how to handle banks in crisis: make their owners and
investors – not taxpayers – pay to clean up the mess. “Bailing
in” junior bank creditors is also nothing new, as seen elsewhere
in Europe, including Ireland and the Netherlands.

Jun 4, 2014

Raiffeisen Bank International to repay state aid on Friday

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International will this week repay the 1.75 billion euros ($2.4 billion) of state aid it got in the financial crisis, joining the ranks of lenders that have weaned themselves off government help by boosting their balance sheets.

The repayment of the non-voting capital will make Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) the third Austrian lender – after Erste Group and BAWAG PSK – to hand back taxpayer money after tapping their owners for more equity.

Jun 4, 2014

Raiffeisen Bank Int’l to repay all state aid on June 6

VIENNA, June 4 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
will repay this week the 1.75 billion euros ($2.4
billion) in non-voting capital it raised from Austria in 2009 to
help weather the financial crisis, Chief Executive Karl Sevelda
told shareholders.

“Early today … we got authorisation from the Financial
Market Authority (FMA) and on June 6 we will repay to Austria
the entire state share of the participation capital worth 1.75
billion euros,” he said on Wednesday.

May 24, 2014

Austria pushes Hypo debt bail-in despite Moody’s warning

VIENNA, May 24 (Reuters) – Austria will propose within weeks
draft legislation to make Hypo Alpe Adria’s subordinated
creditors help pay for winding down the nationalised bank
despite ratings agency Moody’s warning about the impact of
imposing haircuts on bondholders.

The legislation will focus on “bailing in” holders of nearly
900 million euros ($1.23 billion) of debt guaranteed by Hypo’s
home province of Carinthia, not the 1 billion euros of debt with
federal guarantees, a finance ministry spokesman said on

May 22, 2014

Raiffeisen beats Q1 profit estimates, to repay aid soon

VIENNA, May 22 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
reported first-quarter profit that beat market
expectations, saying its Russian business was “relatively
normal” and it could soon pay back nearly 2 billion euros ($2.73
billion) in state aid.

Shares in the Austrian lender jumped more than 5 percent in
early trade on Thursday, as rising net interest income provided
a positive surprise, while risk provisions rose less than
expected despite a hit from Ukraine.

May 15, 2014

Heads roll as Austrian students tested on Nazi apologist text

VIENNA (Reuters) – Two senior Austrian educators will step down over a scandal in which a test administered to school-leavers featured an essay by a Nazi apologist, the latest in a series of missteps in awarding high school diplomas.

Following a high-profile data leak and a failure to communicate new grading scales, the final straw came when this year’s German test included a 1947 text by German author Manfred Hausmann, who had worked for Nazi propaganda magazine Das Reich.

May 12, 2014

Nowotny says would prefer “package” of ECB measures

VIENNA, May 12 (Reuters) – An interest rate cut alone will
not be enough to deal with persistently low inflation in the
euro zone, ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said on Monday as the
central bank gets ready to add more stimulus as soon as June.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said last week
the ECB is prepared to take action next month to boost the euro
zone economy if its updated staff inflation forecasts merit it.

May 11, 2014

Austria’s Conchita Wurst hails Eurovision victory over intolerance

VIENNA, May 11 (Reuters) – Conchita Wurst came home to a
heroine’s welcome in Austria on Sunday after the bearded drag
queen won the Eurovision Song Contest in what she called a
victory over the forces of intolerance, including Russian leader
Vladimir Putin.

Sporting high heels, a tight dress, butterfly eyelashes and
a full beard, Wurst – whose birth name is Tom Neuwirth – swept
to victory with her “Rise Like a Phoenix” ballad before a global
TV audience of about 180 million people in 45 countries.

Apr 16, 2014

Hypo bank woes poison the mood in Austria

VIENNA, April 16 (Reuters) – Hypo Alpe Adria, the state bank
whose woes will swell Austria’s debt and deficits this year, is
morphing into a national bogeyman for a country fed up with the
lender’s chronic need for support and policymakers’ failure to
resolve the issue.

More than four years after the state’s emergency takeover,
Hypo has moved beyond being Austria’s worst post-war financial
debacle to become a lightning rod for grass-roots criticism of
banks and the government ahead of European elections next month.

Apr 11, 2014

Raiffeisen Zentralbank core tier 1 ratio falls to 9.9 pct

VIENNA, April 11 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Zentralbank’s
core tier 1 capital ratio fell 1 percentage point to
9.9 percent of risk-weighted assets at the end of 2013 under
local accounting rules as weak eastern European currencies hit
its balance sheet, the Austrian lender said on Friday.

The unlisted parent of Raiffeisen Bank International
– the second-biggest lender in central and eastern
Europe (CEE) – is one of six Austrian banks to come under direct
supervision of the European Central Bank later this year.

    • 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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