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2019 Country Focus – Austria

  |   Networks News

Did you know that a pope once referred to Austria as an “Island of the Fortunate”? Well, 48 years later, corporate creditors will certainly agree.

Welcome to Austria, where bills get paid faster than anywhere else in Europe. In fact, 75% of companies settle their invoices within 57 days – the shortest timespan to reach this threshold worldwide. Overall, Austria’s commercial climate continues to benefit from the country’s position among small open economies in the EU, pairing high industrial diversification with long-standing advances in social affairs.

2018 Macroeconomics:

  • GDP growth: 2,7% (2019f: 2,0%)
  • Unemployment: 4,8% (2019f: 4,4%)
  • Public budget balance: -0,3% (2019f: 0,0%)
  • Gross public debt vs. GDP: 74,5% (2019f: 71,0%)
  • Current account balance: 2,0% (2019f: 2,2%)

Top Exports:

  1. Engines
  2. Pharmaceuticals
  3. Electronics
  4. Plastics

Strengths:

  • Attractive quality of life
  • Eurozone integration
  • Steady current account surplus

Risks:

  • Banking exposure to more volatile CSEE economies
  • Trading dependency on German market
  • Break with social partnership tradition since early-2018 power shift

Trade Credit in Austria:

Following a global trend, low claims levels and downward pressure on commodity markets have impacted the credit insurance sector in Austria. Major insolvencies filed in Vienna included construction (Waagner-Biro at ~EUR 200mm) real estate development (Wienwert at ~EUR 150mm) and civil aviation (Niki/Air Berlin at ~EUR 150mm). In total, 2018 saw a further decline in insolvencies by 1,9%, whereas affected assets climbed by 11,2% year-over-year. By 2017, trade credit insurance stood at a combined market volume of EUR 154mm in premiums collected (-4,1% YoY), a sharp decline in spite of a rising total credit limit exposure (+6,3% YoY). It remains to be seen how a surge in interest rates hence the cost of corporate refinancing will affect debtors across industries in coming years.

2017 Market Shares:

  • 55% Acredia (49% stake owned by Euler Hermes)
  • 26% Coface
  • 11% Atradius
  • 8% Credendo

2017 Claims Ratio: 41,9%

Funk Austria News:

In 2018, Mario Heinisch was appointed CEO of Funk’s Austrian branch. Moreover, the company was able to win Gerhard Puhr as Head of Broking. With regard to trade credit, bonding and political risk, Hubert Jäger now leads Funk’s specialty line in Vienna. These business areas kept growing at a healthy pace in 2018, with notable gains in pulp/paper, food/beverage and the automotive sector.