April 4, 2014 / 8:37 AM / in 4 years

Bosnian tycoon offers to take over Austria's Hypo

VIENNA, April 4 (Reuters) - A Bosnian billionaire who made his fortune with automotive patents has offered to take ailing bank Hypo Alpe Adria off Austria’s hands - if the state pays him 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion).

The finance ministry confirmed a report in newspaper Oesterreich, which published the bid letter from Ivan Zilic that was sent to the ministry this week via his adviser Prince Hubertus Maximilian zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

The letter says Zilic “expects Austria to pay him 3 billion euros for the sale, in return for which my client will take over the bank with all its liabilities”.

It said the offer would expire at 1400 GMT on Friday.

Austria had to take over Hypo in 2009 to avoid a collapse with regional implications after a period of breakneck expansion in the Balkans.

It is now trying to sell the bank’s Balkans network while hiving off other assets into an expensive “bad bank” that will wind them down over years.

“We get offers like this to buy Hypo Alpe Adria all the time. We check whether every offer is serious and feasible. Concrete negotiations have not arisen so far,” the finance ministry said.

The paper quoted the adviser as saying Zilic had made the offer because “he wants to do something for his homeland of Bosnia”.

Zilic was not immediately available for comment.

$1 = 0.7291 Euros Reporting by Michael Shields

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