Austria’s Volksbanken sells private equity portfolio: Reuters

Austria’s Volksbanken has sold a portfolio of private equity funds worth 110 million euros ($147 million) as part of a revamp demanded by the European Commission, it said on Thursday.

Volksbanken, one of six Austrian lenders taking part in European Central Bank-led assessments of major euro zone lenders before the ECB starts supervising them in November, said it had sold the portfolio in several tranches since the end of 2013.

“We are very pleased with progress in the restructuring process,” Chief Executive Stephan Koren said in a statement. “At the moment, we are already well ahead of our original plans.”

Der Standard newspaper reported late on Wednesday that Volksbanken may need an extra 500 million to 1 billion euros to meet minimum levels under an adverse stress test scenario, citing unnamed supervisory sources.

Volksbanken responded with a statement saying that forecasting results of the asset quality review and stress tests was “completely speculative and premature”.

Austria became Volksbanken’s second-biggest shareholder with a stake of 43 percent in 2012 and has so far ploughed 1.35 billion euros of state aid into the bank to keep it afloat. ($1 = 0.7469 Euros)

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)