VIENNA, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Bank Austria, the central and
eastern Europe (CEE) arm of Italian bank UniCredit, expects to
keep making solid profits in Russia despite Western sanctions,
thanks in part to its ability to raise money locally, though it
warned of lost opportunities.
Bank Austria’s first-half pretax profit in Russia rose 3
percent to 247 million euros ($330 million), more than a quarter
of the total and making it the bank’s single most profitable
market. Russia also accounted for most of its CEE loan growth in
the period, officials told a news conference on Wednesday.
VIENNA, July 31 (Reuters) – Austria’s Erste Group Bank
said on Thursday that it has sought to clean up all
its balance sheet problems this year but cannot exclude further
political obstacles in its central and eastern European markets.
Emerging Europe’s third-biggest lender bit the bullet by
writing down businesses in Romania and Croatia and setting aside
an initial 130 million euros for a Hungarian law forcing banks
to compensate customers for mispriced loans, triggering a 1.03
billion euro ($1.38 billion) second-quarter loss on its way to
record red ink in 2014.
VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russian bank subsidiaries based in the European Union will be exempt from EU economic sanctions designed to choke off finance for big state-owned Russian lenders, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Wednesday.
These sources said the exemption, which EU officials said they would monitor closely to avoid abuse, meant Sberbank and VTB subsidiaries could operate normally within EU member states.
VIENNA, July 29 (Reuters) – Austrian businesses would back
tougher economic sanctions against Russia should Europe go down
that path, even though such measures will likely be
counterproductive, the head of the country’s Chamber of Commerce
said on Tuesday.
Christoph Leitl, one of Austria’s most vocal opponents of
levelling tough sanctions against Moscow over its role in
Ukraine’s crisis, told Reuters he could not estimate the
economic impact of stepped-up economic pressure on Russia.
VIENNA, July 8 (Reuters) – Three main suitors are in the
running to buy the Balkans network of nationalised Austrian bank
Hypo Alpe Adria, a deal that could be signed before
the end of July, several sources close to the sale told Reuters.
Hypo’s network in southeast Europe is considered its prime
asset. The bank, nationalised in 2009 to avoid a collapse that
would have sent shock waves through the region, is winding down
its other businesses.
VIENNA, July 8 (Reuters) – The lower house of Austria’s
parliament approved legislation on Tuesday that would wipe out
some subordinated creditors of nationalised lender Hypo Alpe
Adria despite guarantees from its home province, entering
uncharted territory for debt markets.
The government insists its move, which still needs to pass
the upper house and be signed by the president, is a one-off
step to ensure Hypo investors help pay to wind down a bank that
has cost 5.5 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in public aid so far.
VIENNA, July 7 (Reuters) – Austrian banks should stay in
eastern Europe but need to heed risks and bolster their balance
sheets to compete with more strongly capitalised rivals, the
country’s central bank said on Monday.
Last week, Erste Group, emerging Europe’s
third-biggest lender, highlighted the riskiness of doing
business in the region when it warned that new hits to its
business from Romania and Hungary would lead to a record 2014
VIENNA, July 7 (Reuters) – Austria’s plan to wipe out some
Hypo Alpe Adria creditors, despite guarantees from the
nationalised bank’s home province of Carinthia, could drive up
borrowing costs for other state-backed firms, including
utilities and health agencies.
Vienna insists its move, set to be approved by the lower
house of parliament on Tuesday, is a one-off step tailor made to
ensure that investors in Hypo – not just taxpayers – help to
shoulder the financial burden of winding down a bank that has
sucked in 5.5 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in public aid so far.
VIENNA, July 4 (Reuters) – Investors wiped more than 1
billion euros ($1.4 billion) off Erste Group Bank’s
stock market value on Friday after emerging Europe’s
third-biggest lender warned that fresh hits from Romania and
Hungary would drive it to a record 2014 loss.
The news was a fresh reminder of the perils of operating in
central and eastern Europe, a region that generated fat profit
margins for banks for years after the Iron Curtain fell but now
causes more headaches as the region’s economy struggles.
VIENNA, July 3 (Reuters) – Fresh hits from Hungary and
Romania will push Austria’s Erste Group Bank to a
record 2014 net loss of up to 1.6 billion euros ($2.2 billion),
emerging Europe’s third-biggest lender said on Thursday.
It said it expected risk costs to rise from a planned 1.7
billion euros to about 2.4 billion this year, while its group
operating result would slightly miss guidance this year “due to
weaker operating results in Romania and Hungary”.