Regional bank owners boost Volksbanken stake

VIENNA Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:42am EST

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VIENNA Jan 20 (Reuters) - The Austrian regional banks that own most of part-nationalised Volksbanken AG have increased their stake to 51.6 percent by buying a 1.5 percent stake from German insurer Ergo, the bank said on Monday.

It was confirming a report by the newspaper WirtschaftsBlatt, which also cited supervisory board sources as saying the lender might need up to 200 million euros ($271 million) in additional state aid this year.

A bank spokesman would not confirm this, saying any support that the loss-making lender may require would be clear only after it has finalised its 2013 results.

Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger had told a Sunday newspaper that Austria would not exceed the 5.8 billion euro aid limit it has set for ailing banks by 2018.

Spindelegger has taken a hard line on more aid for Volksbanken, one of six Austrian banks due to come under direct supervision of the European Central Bank this year.

($1 = 0.7376 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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