Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Sep 2, 2014

New Austrian finance minister vows tax reform, less bureaucracy

VIENNA, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Austria needs “tax reform – not
tax cuts” to help eliminate its structural deficit in 2016, new
Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling said on Tuesday, less than
a week after his predecessor quit in a row over tax.

Addressing parliament for the first time in his new role,
Schelling vowed to start dismantling the country’s bloated
bureaucracy and simplify state finances as a way to free up
resources badly needed to boost a flagging economy.

Aug 31, 2014

Austrian conservatives pick Schelling as finance minister

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s conservative People’s Party (OVP) on Sunday chose as finance minister Hans Joerg Schelling, a politically connected millionaire lauded by supporters for whipping the social security network into shape.

The OVP, the junior partner in a government coalition with the Social Democrats, said the party leadership unanimously picked Schelling, 60, head of the national social security system, to replace Michael Spindelegger, who quit last week in a row over tax reform.

Aug 29, 2014

Austria’s Volksbanken faces stress test capital hole-sources

ALPBACH, Austria, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Part-nationalised
Austrian lender Volksbanken AG looks poised to fail a
health check of major euro zone banks’ balance sheets, two
sources close to the situation said.

Results of the European Central Bank-led Asset Quality
Review (AQR) and ensuing stress tests are not final and emerge
only in October, but preliminary estimates show the group needs
more capital, one source with direct knowledge of the matter
said on Friday.

Aug 28, 2014

Austria’s Volksbanken to hold talks on plugging capital shortfall

ALPBACH, Austria, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Part-nationalised
Austrian lender Volksbanken is to hold talks with its
shareholders on measures to boost capital as it faces up to a
shortfall likely to emerge by 2017, it said on Thursday.

Volksbanken, one of the Austrian banks to come under direct
supervision of the European Central Bank (ECB) in November,
expects its equity ratio to fall in the coming years as it
repays 300 million euros ($396 million) in state aid and applies
Basel III regulatory standards.

Aug 27, 2014

Austria begins search for new finance minister

VIENNA, Aug 27 (Reuters) – The new leader of Austria’s
conservative party said on Wednesday he would prefer not serve
as finance minister as well, a tricky dual role his predecessor
performed before suddenly resigning both posts in a row over tax

The government shake-up in the wealthy euro zone member
comes as French President Francois Hollande revamps his his
government after a similar political row over how to boost a
flagging economy without deepening the budget deficit.

Aug 26, 2014

Austrian finance minister quits in tax reform row

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger unexpectedly resigned from all his posts on Tuesday, citing lack of support from his conservative People’s Party (OVP) in a row over tax reform.

But Social Democrat Chancellor Werner Faymann said he expected his coalition with the OVP to last until the next national elections in 2018.

Aug 21, 2014

Raiffeisen plays down impact of Russia sanctions

VIENNA, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank
International said it expected no significant impact
from western sanctions against Russia and would not back out of
its most profitable market.

RBI has nearly 2.8 million customers in Russia and is among
the country’s top ten banks measured by its 10-billion-euro
($13.6 billion) loan book.

Aug 20, 2014

Austria’s BAWAG says in good shape for ECB health check

VIENNA, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Austrian lender BAWAG PSK
nearly doubled net profit in the second quarter and
boosted its core capital adequacy ratio to over 11 percent, it
reported, putting it in good shape for the European regulatory
health checks now underway.

Majority owned by U.S. investor Cerberus Capital Management
, BAWAG is one of six Austrian lenders lining up for the
checks being led by the European Central Bank before it takes
over as the euro zone’s main banking regulator in November.

Aug 20, 2014

BAWAG PSK “well prepared” for bank health checks

VIENNA, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Austrian lender BAWAG PSK
is “well prepared” for the outcome of health checks
on major euro zone banks this year, Chief Executive Byron Haynes
said after the bank reported its core capital ratio had risen to
11.2 percent of risk-weighted assets in the first half.

The bank, majority owned by U.S. investor Cerberus Capital
Management, is one of six Austrian lenders undergoing
European Central Bank-led scrutiny of balance sheets before the
ECB takes on direct supervision of big lenders in November.

Aug 6, 2014

Bank Austria says can prosper in Russia despite sanctions

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.

    • 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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