(New, possibly improved and soon with an added German edition)
As I was on a holiday in the last few days, let's sum up what has happened in the Austrian economic/corporate world in the days before Easter.
Apart from the changes in the government, which seem to have drawn the attention of every media in the country, Statistik Austria said that the number of used vehicle registrations grew by 6.2% in annual terms in the first quarter of 2011. Maybe among the statistics released this week, it was more important that the country's Industrial Producer Price Index rose 5.3% in February 2011 (not in January as the Statistik Austria site wanted us to believe in).
On the corporate level, which let's face it is far more interesting than the dry statistical numbers, the week started with the shocking news that pharmaceuticals producer Sanochemia managed to earn only EUR 4.48m from its latest capital increase. And the company had earmarked EUR 16.25m from the move... Who was to blame then? Sanochemia said it was investor Suntura, which decided not to take part in the transaction but perhaps it was the tough capital market situation recently which even caused a local PV company (don't let me remember its name) to call off its IPO. Furthermore, there are market observers who said that Sanochemia has disappointed investors for years. So better be careful with this one.
On a more positive note, Volksbank AG (ÖVAG) said it had ended 2010 with a profit of EUR 90.8m after two years of heavy losses. The bank will also start returning its state aid. Perhaps the clouds have cleared for this one...
On Tuesday morning all eyes were set on Update Software, which reported a narrowed LBIT of EUR0.6m for the first quarter of the year from EUR1.2m a year earlier. The revenue however continued to decline, so still no time for celebration at the software company. However, the troubles at Update are nothing compared to those at IT services provider S&T System Integration & Technology Distribution AG which said that the equity has fallen under the value of half of the share capital. Not quite a clear statement, but definitely the situation is not good there.
Wednesday began with the 2010 results of Rosenbauer. The fire fighting vehicle maker reported a 10% increase in sales and 6% growth in EBIT. Its net profit even more than doubled. The market however was not surprised as the same preliminary results were already released in February. All company's shareholders are going to enjoy an increase in dividend to EUR 1.2 per share. Later in the afternoon AUA, the country's flag carrier, said it is relaunching its services to Baghdad, while real estate player Warimpex announced plans for convertible bonds in Warsaw.
Just before the Easter holidays to start, the guys at console game maker JoWooD had to face the terrible truth that the restructuring procedures at the company have collapsed. So as no agreement with an investor for the company has been reached, the future ahead will be extremely tough as a liquidation may be around the corner. No good news also at ATB Austria Antriebstechnik, the engine maker part of the corporate empire of Mirko Kovats which collapsed last year. The company announced that its annual net loss may have eaten half of its stock capital. Someone unfortunately has gotten the rotten egg this Easter...