неделя, 8 май 2011 г.

Austria's Top Economic News - Week 2 - 8 May

(the German edition now added)
Monday

The day started with the latest financial results of industrial holding Frauenthal. The company's sales rose 22% to EUR 139.1m in the first quarter of the year, while EBIT soared to EUR 5.4m from EUR 1.2m. Supported by its good figures, Frauenthal projects further growth in the results for full 2010.

Ottakringer, my favourite brewery whenever I'm in Vienna, said its dividend for 2010 will remain unchanged at EUR 1.54 per share, while Telekom Austria and the Serbian government rejected reports that they had reached new agreements on the sale of Telekom Srbija. 

VIG Re, the Prague-based reinsurer of Vienna Insurance, revealed on Monday its pretax profit rose 28.6% to EUR 18.6m in 2010, while premium income grew 9.1% to EUR 280.6m. The company expects premiums of above EUR 300m for 2011.

On Monday also came the news that Strabag unsurprisingly was Austria's biggest construction group for yet another year in 2010, while HTI has to raise its share capital as its creditors have decided to swap loans for shares in the company. 

Tuesday

Tuesday was another slow day for Austrian corporate world, with only the results of AMAG drawing some attention in the morning. The aluminium group, which has recently launched an IPO, said its sales grew 27% to EUR 214.6m in the first three months of the year. The company's operating profit went up 24% to EUR 24.6m. The management said it is optimistic for the performance in the current year.

On Tuesday German AWD said its results were burdened because of problems in Austria, while, just the opposite, insurer Merkur Versicherung announced its 2010 earnings soared to EUR 6.8m from EUR 2.1m.

Frauenthal Holding AG, which on Monday reported solid financial results, said it plans to issue a five-year bond worth between EUR 75m and EUR 100m. The issue will be carried out in the current month.

Two interesting ownership announcements were also made on Tuesday. Real estate company Immofinanz said private investor Rudolf Fries is raising his stake in the firm. Meanwhile, Sinecura Invest has acquired 11% in Carinthian machinery group Hirsch Servo.

Wednesday

Wednesday started with the latest news from Warimpex, which has been authorised by its shareholders to raise its capital by up to EUR 5.4m in the next five years. Perhaps there were no many surprised that OMV will keep its focus on oil and gas, despite the increasing use of renewable energy, as CEO Gerhard Roiss told journalists in Vienna.

On Wednesday there were no good news for the workers of Austria Tabak. According to a report of Kurier, the company is planning to close its cigarette production plant in Lower Austria, where some 180 permanent employees work. 

The most important news however was the announcement that Telekom Austria has improved its offer for 51% in Telekom Srbija to up to EUR 1.1bn. The company is offering to pay EUR 800m initially and the rest in earnout payments. Unfortunately, the Serbian privatisation commission was quick to announce that it would recommend a rejection of the offer. Clearly, the fact that Telekom Austria is the sole bidder doesn't help.

Thursday

Typically Thursday was a busy day in Austria with several financial results coming straight at us. Fibre producer Lenzing was first to announce sales of EUR 532.1m for the first quarter of the year, up 46%. EBITDA soared 66% to EUR 114.9m boosted by the well-accepted price increases.

Affected by the natural disaster in Japan and the political crisis in the Near East, Austrian Airlines (AUA) said it booked an operating loss of EUR 63.5m for the first three months of 2011, compared to EUR 64.7m a year earlier. The company's revenues remained almost unchanged at EUR 447.4m. AUA projects an improvement from the start of the second quarter. 

Meanwhile Austria Tabak confirmed the Wednesday rumours that it is closing its last cigarette production site in Austria, leaving 240 employees in Hainburg and 80 in Vienna without a job.

Strabag, which was crowned at the start of the week the country's biggest builder, said it plans to launch a EUR 200m bond in May.

Auto parts supplier Miba revealed that its sales in fiscal 2010/11 rose 40% to EUR 437.2m, claiming the crisis was behind it. EBIT soared to EUR 54.5m from EUR 16.4m. The company will target sales of above EUR 500m for 2011/12.

Update software AG announced its net loss fell to EUR 0.73m in the first quarter from EUR 1.1m a year earlier. Sales went down 3.6% to EUR 6.5m. The software specialist confirmed it is expecting sales of EUR 31m for full 2011.

In the afternoon, the insolvency administrator of collapsed PC game developer JoWooD said he aims to sell the entire company by the end of June.

And as already expected since the Wednesday news, the privatisation of Telekom Srbija to sole bidder Telekom Austria collapsed officially on Thursday. Despite the improved bid by the Austrian company, the Serbian government rejected to sell 51% in the telecommunications provider at a price lower than its demands.

Friday

Friday began with blue-chip company Andridz reporting excellent results for the first quarter of the year. The net profit of the machine builder grew 28% to EUR 37m and its sales increased 26.1% to EUR 923.7m. The company expects an increase in sales and profit for 2011 as compared to 2010.

bwin.party, the new company coming from the merger of Austrian bwin and British PartyGaming, announced its first joint results on Friday. On a pro-forma basis, the company's sales rose 2% to EUR 217.8m. 

BTW also revealed financial results, which were burdened by considerably marketing costs and decreases in Italy and Spain. Net profit fell 33.8% to EUR 3.6m, while sales rose by only 3.2% to EUR 115.6m. 

Surprisingly for many, chip maker AT&S said it expects its sales to grow to between EUR 535m and EUR 550m for fiscal 2011/12. As a whole the Styria-based company sees annual growth of between 10% and 13% in the next few year.

Bad news came for the Nabucco project, which aims to diversify Europe's gas supply. The construction consortium of the pipeline said works on the project will start from 2013 and gas transport will not begin earlier than 2017, or two years later than planned.


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