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VIENNA, May 2 (Reuters) - Austria's Financial Market Authority has increased its forecast of how much will be earned from the sale of assets in its wind-down of "bad bank" Heta Asset Resolution to 8.6 billion euros ($9.4 billion).
Tuesday's estimate of a 2.6 billion euro increase, from a previous forecast of 6.0 billion euros, is a boon to the Austrian state, which loaned the southern province of Carinthia the money for a buyback of Heta bonds last year, lifting the threat of bankruptcy hanging over the province.
The revision was largely due to better-than-expected proceeds so far from the sale of Heta's assets, the FMA said, confirming Heta's own recent optimistic comments.
Carinthia guaranteed the face value of bonds issued by Hypo Alpe Adria before its collapse, with Heta formed to wind it down. Since Carinthia said it could not afford to honour the 11 billion euros in guarantees, it bought back the bonds at a discount after a long standoff with creditors.
For Austria, 2.6 billion euros is roughly 0.7 percent of last year's gross domestic product. And the FMA said an initial payment of around 4 billion euros should soon be made to Heta creditors, by far the biggest of which is now Carinthia.
"We expect from the current standpoint that roughly half of what is on the account can be paid out ... over the summer," FMA co-chief Klaus Kumpfmueller told reporters, referring to Heta's cash reserves of 8.1 billion euros as of April. ($1 = 0.9163 euros) (Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Shadia Nasralla and Alexander Smith)