Latest articles from Western Europe

Back to basics

May 2, 2005

Turkey’s banking system recorded strong growth in 2004 but systematic weaknesses continue. The country’s 48 banks are having to learn to cope with a low inflation environment.

The great sell-off

May 2, 2005

Turkey is pushing ahead with privatisation of its overstaffed, money-losing state enterprises in the run up to EU membership.

Open for trade

May 2, 2005

A decade in the making, Turkey’s derivatives exchange aims to reduce risk in foreign currency, commodities and share trading. 

Planning for profits

May 2, 2005

OYAK’s chief executive Coskun Ulusoy explains the secret of the pension fund’s success to Michael Kuser in Istanbul.

Markets lift off

May 2, 2005

Michael Kuser reports on the latest developments on the Istanbul Stock Exchange and capital markets.

Islamic banking arrives in the UK

May 2, 2005

The authorisation of the first fully Shariah-compliant bank in the West has created considerable interest. Michael Ainley looks at the FSA’s approach and what lies ahead.

Ukraine’s Aval starts negotiations on sale to RZB

April 4, 2005

Austria’s Raiffeisen International (RZB) is in exclusive takeover talks with Ukraine’s second-largest commercial bank, Aval. “We are in talks that we have agreed will be mutual until May,” said the chief executive of Raiffeisen International, Herbert Stepic. “We want to take over the bank entirely.”

Customers with clout

April 4, 2005

Germany’s medium-sized companies’ political clout has led to banks coming up with innovative capital-raising solutions for them, says Brian Caplen.
Refusing to lend to the Mittelstand in Germany is the fastest route to bad publicity and political outcry. These small and medium-sized enterprises account for three quarters of output in Germany, higher than in most other western European economies where large firms dominate. What’s more, they have a large political voice.
The fact remains, however, that lending to the Mittelstand at low margins does not make economic sense for banks, even if it makes good politics.

Lone Star sees the silver lining

April 4, 2005

A US fund is leading the way in dealing with Germany’s bad loan overload. Brian Caplen reports.
The great potential of German distressed debt may not be obvious to all but it is proving attractive to Lone Star, the US private equity fund that has purchased two-thirds of all the non-performing loans (NPLs) sold by German banks.
Yet with an estimated €300bn of bad loans in the German banking system and so far only €10bn sold, there is no danger of supplies evaporating.

Legislation change

April 4, 2005

Most commentators are not expecting radical change to result from either of the two key pieces of banking legislation due this year. The planned abolition in July of the state guarantees currently afforded to the Landesbanken – institutional liability (Änstaltslast) and guarantor liability (Gewährträgerhaftung) – is unlikely to bring about major restructuring.

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