Hypo Steiermark reports 34-mln-euro write-down on Croatia

Landes-Hypothekenbank Stei-ermark AG, an Austrian regional bank, booked 34 million euros of write-downs in 2006 as leasing contracts in Croatia soured, the bank said. It also played down an earlier report by Austria’s state broadcaster ORF, suggesting it was inaccurate. Friday report ORF, one of the most prestigious news outlets of the country on Friday had reported that the Graz, Austria-based bank had to write down 178 million euros for the Croatian unit. «The numbers reported by ORF are not correct and could only be explained by all write-downs for all our leasing units since 1991,» spokesman Martin Stotter said by telephone, «and these are absolutely normal numbers for a bank» of our scope. Hypo Steiermark is controlled by Raiffeisen-Landesbank Steiermark AG, which owns 75 percent of the bank, and the province of Styria, southeast Austria, which holds the remainder.