Austria equity: Hapsburg hinterland and ATX boom

By bne IntelliNews March 1, 2006

Ben Aris -

The ATX was moribund for more than a decade, stuck at about 1,000. But that all changed in 2000 when the market took off as Austrian companies got back their traditional hinterland to the east.

“There was a boom in the 1980s and then the Austrian market went to sleep for the next decade,” says Harald Riedler, head of custody at Raiffeisen Bank in Vienna. “The dotcom bubble completely ignored Austria so when it bust and investors were looking around for conservative companies that were not overvalued, they turned to the ATX as a safe haven of old economy companies that had exposure to New Europe markets.”

While the rest of the world was licking its wounds, Austria's market set off on a five-year-long rally. The market capitalisation of the ATX has trebled from 14% of GDP in 2000 and the index topped 3000 in 2005. Some 80% of companies listed on the Vienna Bourse have revenues generated in Central and Eastern Europe.

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