Awards for excellence - Austria
Best debt house
Best equity house
Best M&A house
It was something of a shock for Austrians to wake up one morning last July and discover that the country's dominant bank, Bank Austria, had been acquired by Munich-based HypoVereinsbank.
Since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, Austrian banks have spread out across central and eastern Europe buying and building dominant banking businesses across the region. Now it was the turn of Austrians to fret about seeing their banking system fall under foreign control.
Bank Austria now stands, still under its former chairman Gerhard Randa, who has been appointed to the HypoVereinsbank managing board, as the lead company in Austria and central Europe for HypoVereinsbank, the self-styled bank of the regions. In fact the acquisition, painful though it may have been to national pride and worrying in the light of the acquirer's real estate loan problems, scarcely alters the Austrian banking industry at all. Bank Austria would like to claim that it stands to benefit by gaining access to more capital and more expertise as part of the HypoVereinsbank group. But the reality is that the bank's dominance in Austria was sealed back in 1998 when Bank Austria acquired the number two bank in the country, Creditanstalt.