Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Mar 26, 2015

ECB queries banks on Austria exposure after Hypo move: sources

VIENNA (Reuters) – The European Central Bank has asked euro zone lenders to detail their exposure to Austria and provisions they plan to make after the country halted debt repayments by a “bad bank” winding down defunct lender Hypo Alpe Adria, financial sources told Reuters.

The questionnaire sent to banks and a video conference to discuss the potential fallout underscore the sensitivity of Austria’s path-breaking move to invoke new European rules on ensuring creditors, not just taxpayers, fund bailouts.

Mar 25, 2015

Austrian bank RBI warns may post another loss this year

VIENNA, March 25 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
(RBI) warned on Wednesday it may post a second
straight year of losses in 2015 as it books restructuring costs
for a major retrenchment after decades of expansion in central
and eastern Europe.

Emerging Europe’s second-biggest lender, which announced
details of its drastic restructuring last month, had said last
year it expected earnings in a range of around 500 million euros
this year.

Mar 23, 2015

Austria’s Immofinanz turns tables on CA Immo with counteroffer

VIENNA, March 23 (Reuters) – Austrian property group
Immofinanz AG plans to offer 18.50 euros per share for
a stake of up to 29 percent in CA Immobilien, turning
the tables on its rival, which is seeking to increase its stake
in Immofinanz.

CA Immo dismissed the 531 million-euro ($575 million) offer
as “emotional” and said it would press ahead with its bid to buy
more shares in Immofinanz.

Mar 18, 2015

Cerberus launches strategic review for BAWAG PSK – sources

VIENNA/FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) – U.S. investor
Cerberus Capital Management has hired three banks to
help conduct a strategic review of its majority stake in
Austrian lender BAWAG PSK in a deal that could top 4
billion euros ($4.2 billion), sources close to the process told

The sources said Cerberus had hired Goldman Sachs,
Lazard and Morgan Stanley for the review, which
one source said could lead to acquiring another lender, merging
BAWAG with another bank or selling it.

Mar 5, 2015

BAWAG owner Cerberus sees active role in Europe bank M&A

VIENNA, March 5 (Reuters) – U.S. investor Cerberus Capital
Management will play an active role in European banking
consolidation, it said on Thursday, sending the strongest signal
yet it could soon exit its majority stake in Austrian lender

“In general our philosophy is we are a long-term investor
but, that being said, we are consistently evaluating strategic
alternatives. Certainly as there is European banking
consolidation we see ourselves as a big part of that, Cerberus
in general,” Cerberus executive and BAWAG deputy chairman Keith
Tietjen told Reuters.

Mar 3, 2015

Austrian “bad bank” felled by Balkan trouble, Swiss franc surge

VIENNA, March 3 (Reuters) – Among the “bad banks” that have
emerged since the global crisis, Austria’s Heta Asset Resolution
stands out as a spectacular failure, brought down by setbacks
ranging from the demands of accounting rules to ailing Balkan
economies and a Swiss decision to let the franc surge.

Questions are swirling over how things could have gone so
wrong so quickly at Heta, carved out just last year
from the lender Hypo Alpe Adria whose demise has already caused
Austria’s worst post-war financial scandal.

Mar 2, 2015

Austria warns creditors risk losses on bad-bank wind down

* Watchdog says investors can pay for bad bank in variety of

* Bank bond yields rise as bad bank’s senior bondholders at

* Bad bank faced heavy debt redemptions this week

(Adds market reaction, investor comment, detail, changes
dateline from Vienna)

By Michael Shields and Helene Durand

VIENNA/LONDON, March 2 (Reuters/IFR) – Austria has warned
creditors of defunct lender Hypo Alpe Adria they face losses and
could even see the “bad bank” housing their debts put into
insolvency, after the state refused to plug a 7.6 billion euros
($8.5 billion) capital hole.

Austria’s financial watchdog stepped in on Sunday to take
control of bad bank Heta Asset Resolution and halted
payments on more than 11 billion euros worth of debt after an
audit showed its balance sheet was overvalued.

Feb 27, 2015

Erste Group aims to turn page on eastern Europe woes

VIENNA, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Erste Group Bank is set
to put its problems in central and eastern Europe behind it
after tackling trouble spots Hungary and Romania, emerging
Europe’s third-biggest lender said on Friday.

The Austrian group, whose shares were up 1.8 percent in
early trade, forecast 2015 operating profit would fall short of
the 3.09 billion euros ($3.5 billion) it announced for 2014, but
its CEO Andreas Treichl was upbeat on the mid-term outlook.

Feb 24, 2015

Kazakh dissident Aliyev found hanged in Austrian jail

VIENNA (Reuters) – Rakhat Aliyev, the Kazakh president’s former son-in-law turned political foe, was found hanging in an Austrian jail on Tuesday while awaiting trial for murder, but his lawyers doubted the official explanation that he had killed himself.

Aliyev was accused of murdering two bankers in Kazakhstan in 2007, allegations he said were trumped up by political rivals in his homeland after he fell out with former allies there.

Feb 12, 2015

Bank Austria eyes higher share in emerging Europe markets

VIENNA, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Bank Austria expects to keep
profits steady this year even if it makes less money in Russia,
the central and eastern European (CEE) arm of Italian bank
UniCredit said on Thursday.

It also played down any need for quick action to boost its
10.3 percent core capital ratio, saying its strong earnings
capacity should let it strengthen its balance sheet over time.

    • 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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