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Home Alternative News News Austria's Hypo Group Alpe Adria Losses Nationalised

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Zombies are the reanimated dead. The monetary system checker utility can nationalise the losses and privatise the profits. Chains of modern slavery are broken, the financial system is dead, but somebody keeps trying to restart it... there's always a chance that the dead banks will reanimate as the masters with help of voodoo maths...

Austria nationalised Hypo Group Alpe Adria (HGAA) on Monday to avoid a collapse that could have undermined trust in banks in eastern Europe and cast doubt over Austria's and Germany's backing of state-owned lenders.

Austria is taking over 100 percent of Hypo from BayernLB, insurer Grawe and the Austrian state of Carinthia, after shareholders agreed to inject around 1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) of capital, Finance Minister Josef Proell said.

"The risk situation of this bank has created an enormous threat to Austria in the past days," Proell said on Monday after a weekend of crisis talks with his counterpart from the German state of Bavaria, Georg Fahrenschon, and the other shareholders.

"We jointly could avert this threat," he told journalists in a news conference Monday morning.

Proell said European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet had been involved in the talks over the weekend.

The owners will give away their stakes in Hypo to Austria and provide an additional round of capital. BayernLB, which is owned by Bavaria, will give an additional 825 million euros in capital, and leave 3 billion euros of liquidity in the bank.

"With (this rescue) the risk of an insolvency, with all the negative consequences for the bank's customers, has been averted," Austrian central bank chief Ewald Nowotny said in a statement.

He said the rescue had also avoided "a massive risk to the entire Austrian economy at a critical point," and said the bank must urgently restructure because of its important role in Austria and Southern Europe.

BayernLB said it would sell its 67 percent stake in HGAA to Austria for one euro, a move that will lead to writedowns of 2.3 billion euros ($3.37 billion) for the Munich-based lender, but it said it did not need additional capital to shoulder the writedowns.

It was the second nationalisation of an Austrian bank during the global financial crisis after Austria bailed out troubled municipality lender Kommunalkredit last year.

Hypo, Austria's sixth-biggest bank, which is also a major lender in the former Yugoslavia, is creaking under up to 1.7 billion euros ($2.5 billion) of writedowns and loan losses which threatened to wipe out a large part of its capital. ($1=.6733 euros)

A failure of Hypo was also likely to have major consequences on former Yugoslavian countries the bank was invested in.

The fallout of a possible Hypo insolvency convinced the biggest banks -- Unicredit Bank Austria, Raiffeisen Zentralbank and Erste Group Bank -- to chime in with 500 million euros in liquidity for Hypo.

Hypo's is the second nationalisation of an Austrian bank during the financial crisis after Austria bailed out troubled municipality lender Kommunalkredit last year when it almost defaulted because of toxic Iceland and structured debt assets.


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