Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Nov 9, 2012

Stradivarius dealer gets six years for embezzlement

VIENNA (Reuters) – A dealer in rare Stradivarius violins coveted by the world’s top violinists was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison for embezzlement after his glittering global empire crumbled.

Dietmar Machold, 63, built his Bremen-based family business into a juggernaut with branches in Zurich, Vienna, New York and Chicago to serve elite musicians and collectors of the instruments that can command prices of several million dollars.

Nov 7, 2012

OMV profit boosted by Libya and Yemen

VIENNA, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Austrian energy group OMV
said underlying quarterly profit rose a third after
Libya and Yemen helped boost production and refining margins
stayed strong.

OMV also said on Wednesday it would take time to restore
full output in Libya – now around 90 percent of levels before
the civil war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, adding refining
margins would have to fall given overcapacity in the market.

Nov 2, 2012

CoCo bond, Austria state cash to prop up Hypo-sources

VIENNA, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Nationalised Austrian bank Hypo
Alpe Adria is readying a roughly 1 billion euro state-backed
hybrid bond combined with up to 500 million euros ($647 million)
in fresh state capital to shore up its balance sheet, sources
close to the situation said.

Austrian regulators have given Hypo until the end
of this year to come up with 1.5 billion euros in extra capital
as a buffer against recession and jittery markets, giving it a
capital ratio of 12 percent of adjusted assets.

Oct 30, 2012

Erste Group upbeat on 2013, plans dividend

VIENNA, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Erste Group Bank
expects 2013 profit to rise as emerging European economies pick
up, provisions for bad loans stay in check and revenues expand,
the Austrian lender said on Tuesday.

Erste, which vies with Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI)
to be central and eastern Europe’s No.2 lender after
UniCredit, also plans to resume paying a dividend on
2012 results, Chief Executive Andreas Treichl said.

Oct 25, 2012

International vote monitors warn Texas: Don’t mess with us

VIENNA/AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – International election monitors took a dim view on Wednesday of Texas’ threat to prosecute them if they observe voting in the state a bit too closely on November 6.

The exchange pitted the Vienna-based human rights watchdog Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe against Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who warned the OSCE not to interfere with polling in state elections.

Oct 18, 2012

Austrian bankers sour over Hungary tax surprise

VIENNA, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Senior Austrian bankers accused
the Hungarian government of treachery by abandoning a pledge to
halve a controversial bank levy next year.

But they said they had no plans to quit their eastern
neighbour despite the latest run-in with Prime Minister Viktor
Orban and his unorthodox fiscal policies.

Oct 16, 2012

Austria sees wider budget gaps than hoped in 2012, 2013

VIENNA, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Austria will run bigger public
deficits than hoped this year and in 2013 as the economy
performs less well than expected and aid for its struggling
banks eats into state finances, the finance ministry said.

The draft 2013 budget projects a deficit of 2.3 percent of
gross domestic product, wider than the previous target of 2.1
percent but still well below the euro zone average, Finance
Minister Maria Fekter said, adding the country expected to be
able to continue financing itself at rock-bottom rates.

Oct 4, 2012

Austrian gravesites get digital twist

VIENNA (Reuters) – The fabled Viennese fondness for fine funerals and “a schoene Leich” – a beautiful corpse – is about to get a modern twist.

Digital technology is about to give Austrian gravestones the potential to speak across time by showing pictures and biographies of the people buried below.

Oct 2, 2012

Safe-haven Austria basks in bond demand

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria again topped up two bonds at record low rates at auctions on Tuesday, and the head of the country’s debt management agency said spreads could narrow further versus benchmark German Bunds.

The average yield on the 2019 bond edged down to 1.326 percent – a spread of 44 basis points over Bunds, 70 bp less than at the end of June as Austria captures strong demand for highly-rated sovereigns during Europe’s financial crisis.

Oct 1, 2012

Raiffeisen styles Poland strategy as “farmers and hunters” combo

VIENNA, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
(RBI) intends to meld the conservative business of its
own Polish bank with the more aggressive ambitions of its new
Polbank unit to forge a growth machine in Poland, one of its key
emerging Europe markets, executives said.

RBI, which vies with Erste Group Bank for second
place in central and eastern Europe’s banking sector, behind
market leader UniCredit Bank Austria, boosted its
position by buying Polbank from Greece’s Eurobank.

    • 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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