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Mar 14, 2014

Austria finally rules out letting state lender Hypo go bust

VIENNA, March 14 (Reuters) – Austria has finally decided to
create a “bad bank” for 18 billion euros of assets at ailing
Hypo Alpe Adria because letting the state lender go
bust posed unforeseeable risks, Finance Minister Michael
Spindelegger said on Friday.

The decision ends months of wrangling over how to handle the
bank that Austria had to nationalise in 2009 to avoid a collapse
with regional implications, but comes at a cost for Hypo’s home
province of Carinthia and perhaps some Hypo investors.

Mar 13, 2014

Ukrainian gas oligarch Firtash arrested in Vienna on FBI warrant

VIENNA (Reuters) – Industrialist Dmytro Firtash, one of Ukraine’s most influential oligarchs with close links to Russia through his gas interests, has been arrested in Austria at the request of the United States.

Austria’s Federal Crime Agency said on Thursday that Firtash was held on Wednesday on suspicion of violating laws on bribery and forming a criminal organization in the course of foreign business deals.

Mar 13, 2014

BAWAG PSK repays state aid, says not for sale

VIENNA, March 13 (Reuters) – Austrian lender BAWAG PSK
is repaying all its state aid after strengthening
its balance sheet and more than doubling 2013 profits,
beautifying the bank for a potential sale that Chief Executive
Byron Haynes insisted was not imminent.

BAWAG, owned by U.S. investor Cerberus Capital Management
, is one of six Austrian banks to come under direct
European Central Bank supervision after stress tests this year,
a review the Vienna-based lender said it was eagerly awaiting.

Mar 11, 2014

Raiffeisen may have to hang onto some state aid-source

VIENNA, March 11 (Reuters) – Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank
International may not get regulatory approval to repay
state aid in full this month as planned, a source close to the
situation said on Tuesday.

The source said RBI may need to hold on to more of its
capital in view of the impending European Central Bank-led
assessment of the balance sheets of the big euro zone banking
groups and the bank’s weighty exposure to Ukraine.

Mar 10, 2014

Council of Europe to send observers to Crimea, look into Kiev unrest

VIENNA (Reuters) – Ukraine has asked the Council of Europe human rights watchdog to help investigate the clashes that led to President Viktor Yanukovich’s overthrow and to monitor minorities in Crimea, now controlled by pro-Russian forces.

Austria said on Monday that the Council, which it chairs until May, had also agreed with Ukraine to review the legitimacy of a planned Moscow-backed referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia.

Mar 10, 2014

Austria’s Hypo says may need more state aid soon

VIENNA, March 10 (Reuters) – Nationalised Austrian lender
Hypo Alpe Adria may need more state aid quickly to
close out its 2013 accounts and meet minimum capital standards,
the bank said on Monday, creating another headache for the

More than four years after being forced to take over the
bank to avoid a collapse with regional repercussions, Austria is
finally trying to wind the lender down, but has yet to agree on
the best way to do so.

Mar 7, 2014

Council of Europe offers to monitor treatment of minorities in Ukraine

VIENNA (Reuters) – The Council of Europe, the pan-European human rights watchdog, is offering to investigate violence and the treatment of minorities in Ukraine to try to defuse mounting tensions between Kiev and Russia, Austria said.

Sebastian Kurz, the foreign minister of Austria, which holds the revolving chair of the 47-member Council until May, told Reuters on Friday that he and the Council’s secretary general would visit Kiev on Monday to offer its services in the conflict.

Mar 3, 2014

U.S. urges Russia to support sending OSCE monitors to Ukraine

VIENNA (Reuters) – A senior U.S. diplomat urged Russia on Monday to support sending an OSCE observer mission to Ukraine to help monitor human rights and defuse the tense military situation.

But Moscow’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Europe’s leading human rights and democracy watchdog, was non-committal, saying some international missions may do more harm than good.

Feb 28, 2014

Subdued outlook sends Erste shares reeling

VIENNA, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Austrian lender Erste Group’s
subdued earnings guidance despite an economic upturn
in its core region of central and eastern Europe (CEE) sent its
shares reeling on Friday.

CEE’s third-biggest lender said it expects operating profit
to remain steady this year at about 3.1 billion euros ($4.24
billion) with lending to customers staying flat.

Feb 25, 2014

Foreign companies in Turkey face squeeze

LONDON/VIENNA, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Foreign companies in
Turkey are beginning to feel the effects of a sagging currency,
rising inflation and a growing political power struggle, adding
to fears the country may not be the source of future growth that
some companies had hoped.

As Western companies unveiled their 2013 results in recent
weeks, most of those with operations in Turkey said they were
committed to continuing to invest in the country. However, many
acknowledged bumps in their performance there.

    • 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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