VIENNA (Reuters) – A fresh blight is poised to hit Afghanistan’s poppy fields this year, driving up opium prices and threatening to fuel a shift to potentially lethal heroin substitutes like “krokodil”, the U.N. drugs watchdog said on Tuesday.
Plant diseases destroyed nearly half the 2010 opium harvest in Afghanistan, the world’s biggest producer, but output there rebounded 61 percent last year, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its 2012 World Drug Report.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Under fire from right-wing nationalists for helping out euro zone laggards, Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter stood before parliament this month to say why Europeans had to stick together.
“Europe is our guarantor of peace. Europe is our greater homeland and our common destiny. We don’t want to have nationalism get out of hand. We had this once before and we know we have to avoid this,” she said, in a reference to the rise of Austria’s far-right before its annexation by Nazi Germany.
VIENNA, June 15 (Reuters) – Carlos Slim’s America Movil
(AMX) has agreed to buy 21 percent of Telekom Austria
, the Mexican tycoon’s latest move to expand his empire
into Europe by scooping up the beaten-down shares of distressed
America Movil said on Friday the purchase of shares from
investor Ronny Pecik will eventually give it a stake of around
23 percent in Telekom Austria, which operates throughout central
and Eastern Europe. The Mexican group gave no financial terms.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria is sticking to its debt issuance plans for 2012, the head of its debt office said after the average yield on a 10-year bond hit a record auction low, reflecting strong demand for safe-haven sovereigns during Europe’s financial crisis.
Vienna has said it expects to issue 20 to 24 billion euros worth of bonds in 2012 and plans to boost total borrowing via all instruments to 27-30 billion from around 21 billion euros ($26.3 billion) last year.
VIENNA, June 12 (Reuters) – Raising the stakes in Europe’s
debt crisis, Austria’s finance minister said Italy, the euro
zone’s third economy, may need a financial rescue because of its
high borrowing costs.
Maria Fekter’s comments in a television interview amplified
investors’ fears that Europe’s leaders are far from ending two
and a half years of turmoil. A deal by euro zone finance
ministers on Saturday to lend Spain up to 100 billion euros
($125 billion) to recapitalise its banks was seen by many in the
markets as yet another sticking plaster.
VIENNA, May 30 (Reuters) – Voestalpine saw
prospects for a European steel sector upturn slipping away as
demand wanes in the car and energy sectors and excess capacity
triggers “destructive price wars”.
The Austrian specialty steelmaker nevertheless forecast on
Wednesday it can keep operating profit steady in its current
fiscal year as its downstream divisions take up the slack from
its core steel business.
VIENNA, May 24 (Reuters) – Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank
International posted quarterly profit that beat
forecasts after risk provisions fell unexpectedly and it booked
one-off gains, and said it had met a key capital target.
First-quarter consolidated profit doubled to 541 million
euros ($681 million), compared with an average estimate of 457
million euros after minorities in a Reuters poll and topping
even the highest estimate in the survey.
VIENNA, May 23 (Reuters) – Telekom Austria AG
shareholder Ronny Pecik is happy with his stake of around 21
percent in the telecommunication group, he said, calling himself
a loyal investor rather than the “locust” that media make him
out to be.
Pecik, who is seeking a seat on the Austrian group’s
supervisory board at the annual meeting on Wednesday, played
down reports he was keen to build up and flip the stake he built
with ally Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Nationalised Austrian lender Hypo Alpe Adria HAABI.UL has launched the sale of its southeastern Europe banking network by picking Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to run a deal it hopes will raise at least 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion).
Hypo Alpe Adria Chief Executive Gottwald Kranebitter said Deutsche would begin the process by sounding out the market, which he acknowledged was a tough one, with the goal of being able to act quickly should deep-freeze conditions thaw out after banks hit mid-2012 capital targets.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Spat at in public by a fellow Libyan who called him a thief, watching his back on long walks through Vienna, eating poorly; Muammar Gaddafi’s fugitive oil supremo was a troubled man in the months before he was found drowned in the Danube two weeks ago.
Just whom, or what, Shokri Ghanem feared may hold a key to his mysterious sudden death, just as he was under mounting pressure to reveal what he knew of suspect deals with foreign oil buyers that made billionaires of the late dictator’s family.