Binder Grösswang Generates "Impulses"
On 25 May 2009, the commercial law firm Binder Grösswang started up its new event series "Binder Grösswang impulse".
At this first event, Managing Partners Michael Binder and Raoul Hoffer welcomed Federal Minister Dr. Reinhold Mitterlehner to the firm's Vienna premises to discuss the subject The Renaissance of the State – Nationalisation instead of Privatisation? with Dr. Heinrich Schaller, Member of the Management Board of Wiener Börse AG, and Alois Steinbichler, Chairman of the Management Board of Kommunalkredit Austria. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Peter Pelinka, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine "Format".
In his introductory presentation, Federal Minister Mitterlehner made it clear that a discussion focussing on renationalisation would be headed in the wrong direction. He said the question was not whether privatisation was in itself a good or a bad thing, but rather which companies were the right ones to privatise. According to Mitterlehner, the principle "as much privatisation as possible and as little state control as necessary" still applies. The function of the state, in its role as a stabiliser and motivator, is now to institute financial measures that will stabilise the economy, he said, for instance through the granting of loans in a total volume of € 11 billion or through the Act Strengthening Liquidity of Enterprises (Unternehmensliquiditätsstärkungsgesetz), in order to benefit the commercial sector and private citizens and revitalise consumer demand and investment.
Alois Steinbichler related that state aid had enabled Kommunalkredit to cope successfully with an acute liquidity crisis and thereby avoid insecurities in the Austrian financial market in a situation that was generally tense already. This created the preconditions needed to institute stabilising restructuring measures. The responsible investment of public funds secured the core business of Kommunalkredit, which is the profitable financing of municipal and infrastructure-related projects under competitive conditions in the interest of the municipalities and the public. When speaking of "state" and "private" control, he explained, it was not a matter of "either-or principles" but rather of meaningful interplay, of finding the right degree of regulation.
Heinrich Schaller emphasised that the privatisations of recent years have contributed highly to the commercial success of the respective companies. Through the introduction of profit sharing in most listed companies, their blue-collar and white-collar workers have been able to participate in the companies' long-term success. In times of crisis, the causes of which are under no circumstances to be sought in Austrian businesses, privatisations definitely must be viewed with caution, he said, but in the long term, in a good market environment in which the state can achieve correspondingly high prices through privatisation or partial privatisation by going public, privatisations should be continued.
The discussion took place in an exclusive ambience. Among the approx. 100 guests were Dr. Alexander Martinowsky (Member of the Board, Wiesenthal), Günther Tengel (Managing Director, Jenewein und Partner), Dr. Stefan Süssenbach (Investkredit Bank AG), Markus Fichtinger (Managing Director, Aktienforum), Rudolf Kemler (CEO, Hewlett Packard GmbH), Dr. Werner Weihs-Raabl (ERSTE Bank), Dr. Karl Bruckner (BDO Auxilia Treuhand GmbH), Dr. Erich Obersteiner (Raiffeisen Centrobank AG), Dr. Stefan Breszovich (ÖRAG Österreichische Realitäten AG), Freimutz Dobretsberger (A TEC Industries AG), Adolf Tripold (Wiesenthal&Co AG), Dr. Magnus Brunner (OeMAG Abwicklung für Ökostrom), Wolfgang Viehauser (HYPO Investmentbank AG), Dr. Walter Lederer (B&C Holding GmbH), Dr. Karl Ertl (EUCOMA Holding GmbH), Dr. Andreas Bräuner (Verbund AG), Karl Hartleb (WKO), Dr. Wolfgang Penzias (Foreign Trade Delegate, United Arab Emirates), Michael Friedl (Foreign Trade Delegate, Iran).
The event series "Binder Grösswang Impulse" focuses on topical subjects and outstanding personages. Additional events are planned for 2009.
The law firm Binder Grösswang has provided legal advice for numerous privatisations of well-known companies, for example voestalpine AG.