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Alpine plans sell off to gain breathing space

Troubled Austrian building firm Alpine Holding GmbH is planning to sell off one or more of it's sub firms in order to gain a fresh flow of capital.

According to company either Alpine Energie or Hazet Bau will be sold off that will provide cash for the Spanish owners Fomento de Construcciones & Contratas SA.

It was also revealed that the boss of Alpine Bau Salzburg - Josef Rettenwander - has left the embattled firm criticising the overinflated bureacracy at the building concern.

Alpine bonds tumbled after it admitted it may have a “significant” loss this year.

Alpine, based in Salzburg, said “certain” projects are responsible for the loss.

“Contrary to the issuer’s prior assessments, in particular due to the evolution of certain projects, the annual financial statements for the 2012 financial year would show a significant loss,” it said in the statement. With support by its shareholder and the funding banks, Alpine is “confident that it will continue to meet all of its financial obligations,” the company said.

Alpine, which built German soccer team Bayern Munich’s AllianzArena stadium, has about two-thirds of its output in Austria and Germany, and more than 20 percent in eastern and southeastern Europe. The company, which employs about 15,000, was acquired by FCC in 2006. Net income was 13.4 million euros ($17.3 million) last year, 18 percent less than a year earlier.

The company said in its annual report, published April 30, that it expects 2012 net income to match the prior year’s level. It sold a 100 million-euro bond in May, and in the prospectus said it wouldn’t provide a profit outlook.

Alpine said in August that it has “growing concern” about its business in Poland, where it is mired in legal battles including one over its contract to build the A1 motorway, saying their “outcome is hard to predict.”

Austrian magazine Profil first reported the company may have a loss on writedowns.

The company, whose net debt doubled to 550 million euros by the end of June from 277 million euros at the end of 2011, has met creditor banks for talks. Alpine’s creditors include Erste Group Bank AG (EBS) with 100 million euros outstanding, Raiffeisenlandesbank OOe AG with 82 million euros, and UniCredit Bank Austria AG with 78 million euros, according to the Profil report. Spokesmen for Erste, Raiffeisen and UniCredit declined to comment on the Alpine loans, citing bank secrecy rules.

Austrian Times

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