Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Mar 29, 2012

Raiffeisen can meet capital goal without rights issue

VIENNA, March 29 (Reuters) – Austrian group Raiffeisen is on
track to meet European Union capital requirements for banks by
mid-year even without a rights issue from listed unit Raiffeisen
Bank International (RBI).

RBI also proposed keeping its dividend steady at 1.05 euros
($1.4), making it the only major Austrian lender to make a
payout on 2011 results.

Mar 28, 2012

Bank Austria eyes billion-euro profit in 2013

VIENNA, March 28 (Reuters) – UniCredit unit Bank
Austria forecast modest loan growth this year and dangled
prospects of boosting earnings back to 1 billion euros ($1.3
billion) in 2013 as one-off hits wane.

Net profit at emerging Europe’s top lender fell 71 percent
in 2011 as impairments in Kazakhstan and Ukraine and writedowns
on Greek debt eclipsed higher underlying operating profit.

Mar 27, 2012

Austria seeks to clinch tax deal with Swiss

VIENNA/BERNE, March 27 (Reuters) – Austria has stepped up
efforts to secure a 1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) tax windfall
on wealth its citizens have stashed in Switzerland, money it
wants to help balance the budget by 2016.

Finance Minister Maria Fekter assured reporters on Tuesday
she would reap the rewards of a tax deal with neighbouring
Switzerland by next year, but a source familiar with the
negotiations said that target was virtually impossible to hit.

Mar 22, 2012

Austrian right leader shrugs off “new Jews” backlash

VIENNA (Reuters) – Appearing to make light of the Holocaust would be the kiss of death for most European politicians, but for Austria’s Heinz-Christian Strache it has meant little more than a temporary dip in his popularity.

The 42-year-old leader of the Freedom Party has bounced back in opinion polls after a barrage of criticism in January for reportedly likening attacks on him and his backers to treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Mar 14, 2012

Austria tweaks CEE lending guidelines after uproar

VIENNA, March 14 (Reuters) – Austria’s market
watchdogs have softened guidelines to limit lending by three big
Austrian banks’ units in emerging European countries after
international protests that the curbs could cause a credit
squeeze in the region.

A proposal that UniCredit’s Bank Austria unit,
Erste Group Bank and Raiffeisen Zentralbank
cap new central and eastern Europe lending at 110
percent of financing they arrange locally was diluted in the new
standards.

Mar 13, 2012

Hypo Alpe hopes to avoid more state aid

VIENNA, March 13 (Reuters) – Nationalised Austrian
lender Hypo Alpe Adria aims to return to health without needing
more state aid, it said while again skipping payouts on capital
because it posted a 2011 loss under Austrian accounting rules.

“Our goal is to not burden the taxpayers any more,” Chief
Executive Gottwald Kranebitter told reporters on Tuesday after
the country’s sixth-largest bank swung to a profit under
international accounting standards.

Mar 10, 2012

Greek debt revamp paves way for aid-ECB’s Nowotny

VIENNA, March 10 (Reuters) – Greece’s successful debt
restructuring paves the way for a second international aid
package for the country but may require more support for a
state-owned Austrian bank, European Central Bank policymaker
Ewald Nowotny said.

“A clear success has been achieved here. Greece’s debt
burden will be lessened, but of course on the other side there
are still challenges and that is why this 130 billion (euro) aid
package is being activated,” he said in an interview aired by
Austrian radio on Saturday.

Mar 9, 2012

UniCredit off to good start in CEE region-CEO

VIENNA, March 9 (Reuters) – UniCredit is off
to a good start this year in emerging Europe, where the Italian
bank is the leading lender, Chief Executive Federico Ghizzoni
said.

He said the group can retain its leading position in the
region whithout having to care too much about what rivals do,
and dismissed as “totally ungrounded” talk that the bank could
divest key assets such as Bank Austria or Germany’s HVB.

Mar 6, 2012

Austria’s fiscal plans won’t affect 2012 borrowing -debt head

VIENNA, March 6 (Reuters) – Austria’s fiscal
consolidation programme that aims to balance the budget by 2016
will not alter the country’s borrowing plans this year, the head
of the national debt office told Reuters.

The government approved and sent to parliament on Tuesday a
package of spending curbs and tax hikes aimed at raising nearly
28 billion euros ($37 billion), which officials hope will
convince financial markets of Austria’s fiscal stability.

Feb 29, 2012

Erste sees better 2012 as bad debt costs fall

VIENNA, Feb 29 (Reuters) – Erste Group Bank,
emerging Europe’s second-biggest lender, forecast improved
operating results for this year as provisions for bad debts fall
from elevated 2011 levels and its Hungarian headache eases.

The upbeat outlook and news the Austrian bank had already
nearly reached the core capital level big European lenders must
reach by mid-2012 supported its shares, which rose nearly 5
percent, the biggest gainers among bank sector peers.

    • 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"
      Hometown:
      Philadelphia
      Joined Reuters:
      1987
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