Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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May 27, 2015

For BAWAG owner Cerberus, Postbank bid is just one option

VIENNA/FRANKFURT, May 27 (Reuters) – It took years and a
small fortune for U.S. investor Cerberus Capital Management
to polish Austrian lender BAWAG PSK into a
retail gem. The question now is whether it wants to try to
repeat the trick with Deutsche Postbank.

The German retail bank is slated to be sold by Deutsche Bank
by the end of next year and investment bankers have
long pitched the idea of combining BAWAG PSK and Postbank, which
use post offices as outlets for selling financial services
products.

May 22, 2015

Austrian conservatives rebel over tax reform plans

VIENNA, May 22 (Reuters) – A group of conservative Austrian
lawmakers has broken with the party leadership over reform plans
that would give the taxman more power to snoop into the accounts
of suspected cheats, a sensitive topic in a country enamoured of
banking secrecy.

Resistance from rebel People’s Party (OVP) MPs from Styria
province may complicate efforts to adopt a 5 billion euro ($5.6
billion) tax relief package that also needs the support of the
opposition Greens party because it amends the constitution.

May 21, 2015

Raiffeisen Bank International profit nearly halves

VIENNA, May 21 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International’s
(RBI) first-quarter profit fell by nearly half,
showing the impact of a squeeze on the bank’s income even though
bad debt charges fell.

The second-biggest lender in emerging Europe also reiterated
on Thursday it might report an annual loss in 2015, partly the
result of booking most of an expected 550 million euros in
restructuring costs to help to hit a core capital ratio of 12
percent by the end of 2017.

May 12, 2015

BAWAG PSK on growth path as Q1 profit jumps

VIENNA, May 12 (Reuters) – Austrian lender BAWAG PSK
is on the lookout for retail-focused acquisitions in
its core western Europe markets, top executives told Reuters on
Tuesday while reporting first-quarter net profit rose by half.

Majority owner Cerberus Capital Management is in
the midst of a strategic review for westward-looking BAWAG,
which unlike other big Austrian banks has practically cut off
exposure to the volatile central and eastern Europe region.

May 8, 2015

ECB’s Nowotny – capital controls helpful in extreme situations

VIENNA (Reuters) – Imposing controls on the movement of capital may be helpful for countries in an emergency, European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Reuters on Friday, warning however that parallel currencies such as IOUs do not fit in the euro bloc.

The remarks from Nowotny, who is also head of Austria’s central bank, shed light on the debate within the euro zone as Greece struggles to persuade its international creditors to unlock badly needed funding and stay in the euro zone.

May 7, 2015

Erste boosts Q1 net profit as risk costs fall

VIENNA, May 7 (Reuters) – A brighter economic picture across
most of central and eastern
Europe is helping Erste Group to bounce back from a
record 2014 net loss, the region’s third-biggest lender said on
Thursday, as it beat first-quarter profit estimates.

Mortgage loans are on the rise and consumer lending is
picking up in places including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and
Romania, Chief Executive Andreas Treichl said, while corporate
loans are seeing better volume although weak margins.

Apr 30, 2015

Ukrainian tycoon Firtash escapes extradition to U.S

VIENNA (Reuters) – An Austrian court refused on Thursday to extradite Ukrainian industrialist Dmytro Firtash to the United States, accepting his argument that political motivations lay behind U.S. efforts to try him on corruption charges.

One of Ukraine’s most influential oligarchs, Firtash, 49, was arrested in Vienna a year ago at the request of U.S. authorities, which have been investigating him since 2006.

Apr 29, 2015

Bank Austria still sees central, east Europe as growth engine

VIENNA, April 29 (Reuters) – Bank Austria’s market-leading
businesses in central and eastern Europe (CEE) will remain the
group’s “engine of growth” despite political tensions and
conflict in Ukraine, its new regional chief said.

“The only bank which was in loss in 2014 was Ukraine. Also
in 2015 it can’t be different,” Deputy Chief Executive and CEE
head Carlo Vivaldi told reporters.

Apr 27, 2015

Carinthia cash crunch gives Austria its own mini-Greece

VIENNA, April 27 (Reuters) – A newspaper cartoon depicting
the cash-strapped province of Carinthia as “Greece without the
ocean” captures the public mood as Austria weighs what to do
with a region facing ruin over unaffordable bank debt
guarantees.

The southern province, once the heartland of support for
late right-wing leader Joerg Haider, says it will run out of
money in June unless the federal government throws it a
financial lifeline.

Apr 23, 2015

Novartis posts first quarter profit beat despite dollar drag

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss drugmaker Novartis (NOVN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) beat first-quarter profit forecasts on Thursday, defying the impact of a strong dollar thanks to surprisingly strong margins.

The Basel-based group confirmed its guidance for sales and operating profit growth this year.

    • 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"
      Joined Reuters:
      1987
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