BAWAG PSK "well prepared" for bank health checks

VIENNA Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:59am EDT

VIENNA Aug 20 (Reuters) - Austrian lender BAWAG PSK is "well prepared" for the outcome of health checks on major euro zone banks this year, Chief Executive Byron Haynes said after the bank reported its core capital ratio had risen to 11.2 percent of risk-weighted assets in the first half.

The bank, majority owned by U.S. investor Cerberus Capital Management, is one of six Austrian lenders undergoing European Central Bank-led scrutiny of balance sheets before the ECB takes on direct supervision of big lenders in November.

"We believe that we are well prepared for the announcements towards the end of October and we are well prepared because of the actions we have taken," Haynes told Reuters on Wednesday.

Haynes declined to go into speculation about whether Cerberus could soon seek to exit the 3.2 billion-euro ($4.25 billion) purchase of BAWAG it closed with other investors in 2007, adding that no sale process was under way and a potential sale was beyond management's control.

Chief Financial Officer Anas Abuzaakouk added: "Cerberus is a financial investor. At some point there will be a monetisation. Whether it is an IPO, a trade sale, that is something we don't control. What we communicate to the employees here is BAWAG's best years are still ahead of it."

BAWAG nearly doubled second-quarter net profit, but Haynes said growth was likely to decelerate over the rest of 2014.

"We expect the second half of the year to be in line with the first half, maybe a slightly slower run rate compared to the second quarter annualised," he said. (Editing by Georgina Prodhan)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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