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Government enters talks with banks

Healthy banks in talks over Hypo Alpe Adria

Austria's banks are due to begin talks with the government over the takeover of bad assets belonging to ailing bank Hypo Alpe Adria.

A task force set up to decide how to manage the state owned toxic assets of Hypo Alpe were weighing up the options of the government taking them on as state debt or getting support from healthy banks to relieve the burden.

The latter was recommended as the better proposal and, keen to see banks such as Raiffeisen Bank International, Erste Group and Bank Austria help support Hypo Alpe, Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger has called for talks to begin with the commercial banks.

Hypo Alpe has around 13 billion Euros held up in bad loans and leases. The bank became government owned after it went into bankruptcy in 2009 and threatened financial stability in Austria.

Since then it has received 4.8 billion in state aid and there have been reports that further financial assistant will be necessary, although National Bank Governor Ewald Nowotny says that he's been told the bank does not need more immediate aid from the state.

After talks with the healthy banks, a decision about the way forward for Hypo Alpe is expected to be made by the government in the next month.

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