Raiffeisen Zentralbank eyes Volksbanken Leasing assets

VIENNA, March 8 Fri Mar 8, 2013 3:42am EST

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VIENNA, March 8 (Reuters) - Austria's Raiffeissen Zentralbank (RZB) could buy leasing business assets from partly nationalised Volksbanken AG as its contribution to Volksbanken's bailout, it said on Friday.

The state took a 43 percent stake in Volksbanken in April last year as part of a rescue that cost the country more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in writedowns on previous aid, fresh capital and guarantees.

Volksbanken's shareholders, including German bank DZ , had to shoulder part of the rescue as well, but RZB, parent of listed unit Raiffeisen Bank International , has yet to do its part.

Negotiations focus on "an asset pool that include assets of VB Leasing," an RZB spokesman said, confirming a report on Friday by newspaper Der Standard.

A Volksbanken spokeswoman said only that talks were continuing and declined to comment further.

Volksbanken also has a near 5 percent stake in RZB and selling this stake back to RZB was seen as one option that was discussed as a way for RZB to boost Volksbanken's capital by 100 million euros and liquidity by 500 million, as agreed.

But the talks broke down, leaving open the question of what steps RZB could take.

Under the restructuring deal agreed with the Austrian government and the European Union, Volksbanken needs to sell its 51 percent stake in its Volksbank Romania unit and its 50 percent stake in Volksbanken Leasing International.

The Romanian disposal must be signed by the end of 2015, and the Volksbanken Leasing deal by the end of 2014. ($1=0.7644 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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