Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Aug 22, 2013

Raiffeisen Bank Int’l sees higher interest margin

VIENNA, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
talked up its prospects for 2013 on Thursday as rising
net interest income helped take the sting out of a profit miss
in the second quarter.

Central and eastern Europe’s second-biggest lender said it
now expected a slight increase this year in its net interest
margin, which rose 42 basis points to 3.06 percent in the first
half. Net interest income is its main profit driver.

Aug 19, 2013

Statoil funds growth, OMV seals output with $2.65 billion North Sea deal

OSLO/VIENNA (Reuters) – Norway’s Statoil (STL.OL: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sold stakes in North Sea oil fields to Austria’s OMV (OMVV.VI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Monday, in a $2.65 billion deal giving the former cash to develop new projects and placing the latter on course to meet ambitious output targets.

The deal, which analysts said came at a comfortable premium, gives OMV a foothold in one of Norway’s biggest future oil developments and underlines a rebound in North Sea investments driven by a string of new oil field discoveries as well as high oil prices and better recovery technology.

Aug 8, 2013

Colombia 2012 coca crop falls as illegal mining surges -U.N.

BOGOTA/VIENNA, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Coca planting in Colombia
fell by a quarter last year as the government bolstered efforts
to stop the crop being turned into cocaine and crime gangs
shifted to other ways of funding their operations, the United
Nations said on Thursday.

Coca, the raw material for cocaine production, covered
48,000 hectares of Colombia in 2012, down 25 percent from the
year before, according to the annual report by the United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The figure is the
lowest since records started in 2001.

Aug 7, 2013

Bank Austria seeks more capital for east Europe lending

VIENNA, Aug 7 (Reuters) – UniCredit unit Bank
Austria aims to raise more capital this year to fuel selective
lending in central and eastern Europe (CEE) now that the
region’s boom times are over, the company said on Wednesday.

Bank Austria said CEE would still grow faster than western
Europe and the industry there had shown signs of improvement.

Jul 11, 2013

EU court backs Austria in Amazon row over levies

VIENNA (Reuters) – EU countries can under some circumstances collect a levy on blank recording media as a tool to ensure artists get fair rewards for their work, a levy that Inc had fought, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

The case arose from an Austrian copyright collection agency’s attempt to bill Amazon nearly 1.9 million euros ($2.4 million) for blank media such as cassette tapes, CDs, memory cards and MP3 players sold in Austria in the first half of 2004.

Jul 8, 2013

Austrian banks need up to 8 bln euros of capital-cenbank

VIENNA, July 8 (Reuters) – Austrian banks need to find as
much as 8 billion euros ($10.3 billion) in fresh capital to meet
minimum international standards by 2022, the country’s central
bank said on Monday.

The sector’s biggest challenge is replacing 5.15 billion
euros in state aid that lenders got as the global financial
crisis raged but which will no longer count as core capital from
2017, it said in its latest financial stability report.

Jul 3, 2013

Bolivia angered by search of president’s plane, no sign of Snowden

VIENNA (Reuters) – Bolivia accused Austria of an act of aggression by searching President Evo Morales’ plane on Wednesday and blamed Washington for its forced landing in Vienna over suspicions that former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was on board.

Morales’ plane was stranded at Vienna airport for several hours after Portugal and France abruptly canceled air permits for it to fly through their airspace, but eventually resumed its flight home form an energy meeting in Moscow.

Jul 2, 2013

CEO quits ailing Austrian bank Hypo Alpe Adria

VIENNA, July 2 (Reuters) – The chief executive of
nationalised Austrian bank Hypo Alpe Adria resigned
on Tuesday, saying that political wrangling over whether the
lender was worth keeping afloat had made his job impossible.

Gottwald Kranebitter became the second top Hypo official to
leave within a month in a saga that highlights Austrian banks’
exposure to central and eastern Europe (CEE) and taxpayers’
reluctance to keep footing the bill when things go wrong.

Jul 1, 2013

Erste launches capital increase to help repay state aid

VIENNA, July 1 (Reuters) – Austria’s Erste Group Bank
launched on Monday a share sale to raise around 660
million euros ($858 million) to help repay state aid.

Central and eastern Europe’s third-biggest lender announced
plans for the capital increase last week, saying it would use
the money to help repay 1.76 billion euros in non-voting
participation capital it raised in 2009 to help it weather the
financial crisis.

Jun 26, 2013

Political will and big spending put Austrians to work

VIENNA, June 26 (Reuters) – Sebastian Liedl is 17, and in
half a year will be a fully qualified employee at the Austrian
steel group Voestalpine, where he can look forward to
a starting monthly wage of about 2,000 euros ($2,600).

Unlike his contemporaries in Greece, Spain or Portugal,
Liedl has never feared unemployment. He always knew he wanted to
follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather at Voest,
where he is part of an extensive apprenticeship programme.

    • 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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