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Task force recommends wind-down vehicle for Hypo

The task force assigned to find the best way to deal with ailing bank Hypo Alpe Adria has recommended that the government initiate a wind-down vehicle rather than creating the state "bad bank" preferred by Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger (OeVP).

The announcement was made at the weekend by chair of the task force and Austria's central bank governor Ewald Nowotny, after he handed the recommendations to the government on Friday night.

Nowotny recommended that a wind-down vehicle for Hypo that would have no banking license and no unlimited state aid from the Austrian government - although the lender's 17.8 billion Euros in toxic assets would end up being included as part of state debt.

The solution presented on Friday would put state debt at about 80% of GDP from the 74.4% it stands at the moment, according to Nowotny. The bank governor said that the 8.3 billion Euros in assets belonging to the lender's Balkan banks would be sold off as part of a wind down plan.

Nowotny urged the government not to let Hypo go insolvent, a possibility that has not been fully ruled out by Spindelegger, but is disliked by some economists because of the risk it would lead to the bankruptcy of the state of Carinthia who owe have financial ties to the Hypo.

The Finance Minister has also not completely ruled out calls from opposition parties Green party and FPOe to make German bank BayernLB take some of the financial debt burden, as they were a majority owner of Hypo during it's time of big expansion which led to the banks near collapse and eventual nationalisation.

The Austrian government has said it hopes to decide on a solution for Hypo by the end of March.

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