VIENNA, July 8 Austria expects to pick a buyer
for nationalised lender Hypo Alpe Adria's Balkans
network within weeks, Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger told
parliament on Tuesday.
"We are in a sale process with seven bidders. I expect we
will be able to make a decision in the weeks ahead and thus give
the active part of the bank to the best bidder," Spindelegger
said without being more specific.
He was addressing a lower house debate on a controversial
law which would split up the bank that Austria nationalised in
2009 and impose losses on some junior creditors, despite
guarantees from the bank's home province of Carinthia.
The European Commission last year ordered Austria to find a
buyer for the Balkans network by mid-2015 in return for
approving state aid for the lender.
The Balkans network comprises six banks and three leasing
operations in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro.
The business, valued on Hypo's books at around 500 million
euros ($682 million) after writedowns last year, lost 286
million euros in 2013 after booking 340 million in risk
It had 8.6 billion euros in total assets, a 6.4 billion loan
book, 4.1 billion in deposits and a non-performing loan ratio of
12.3 percent at the end of last year.
($1 = 0.7331 Euros)
(Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields; Editing by