Androsch says Cerberus may back out of BAWAG PSK

Hannes Androsch has claimed US investor Cerberus Capital Management is considering leaving Austrian BAWAG PSK soon.The Former Social Democratic (SPÖ) finance minister said at a business event last night (Tues) it was possible that the American bank house withdrew its engagement “in the foreseeable future”.Cerberus however is committed to remain on board for at least five years after it acquired a major stake in the former workers’ union bank for 3.2 billion Euros in 2007.The claim by Androsch – who holds a stake in BAWAG PSK – could intensify turmoil at Austria’s fourth-biggest banking institute.Regina Prehofer, one of its most influential board members, surprisingly announced last week that she would resign this autumn. Prehofer, whose contract would have expired in September 2011, dismissed speculations that her decision was based on differences with Cerberus executives.Business papers reported last month that BAWAG PSK planned to cut 500 jobs in order to save around 60 million Euros in costs over the next three years.The bank – which received state aid last year to get through the economic crisis – suffered losses of 22.2 million Euros in 2009 after a loss of 547.5 million Euros in the previous year.BAWAG PSK has been rumoured to be in the running for becoming a strategic partner of struggling Volksbank AG (ÖVAG) for weeks. ÖVAG – which suffered losses of 1.123 billion Euros after taxes in 2009 – however announced recently it decided not to team up with its competitor.