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Österreichische Credit-Anstalt für Handel und Gewerbe
Austrian Credit Institute for Trade and Industry

The entire weapons industry of the monarchy under control of the Austrian Credit Institute for Trade and Industry. The Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino (STT) shipbuilding company was, since 18 March 1897, in the possession k.k. priv. Credit-Anstalt für Handel und Gewerbe [Imperial royal privileged Credit Institute for Trade and Industry]. The shares of this bank were held by the private bank "Samuel Moriz von Rothschild", the private bank "Philipp Gompertz" and the banking house "Mendelssohn & Comp" of Berlin. Since 21 December 1899 the Credit institute held in addition, 49% of the shares A.G. Skodawerken, the only offerer for cannons in the monarchy. In 1873 Rothschild together with the "Kohlenbaronen", the brothers Wilhelm and David Gutmann of Olmütz, acquired the ailing "Witkowitzer mining industry and ironworks Gewerkschaft". The location Witkowitz was developed by important investments to the most important producer for armor-plates.

The Frankfurt Rothschild bank granted the Austrian state chancellor Prince Metternich high loan to the need for reparations later in France. This much-needed loan for the rehabilitation of the state budget established a lifelong friendship with the most powerful politician in Austria until 1848. The Rothschild millions caused the emperor of Austria to "ennoble" the five Rothschild brothers by "creating" them barons. From that day to this no male member of the family had lacked a title.

Salomon Rothschild settled permanently in 1818 from Vienna and rose to become the leading Staatsfinanzier. In addition, he also at the forefront of the railway in Austria: 1839 opened a consortium under the leadership of Solomon with the NORDBAHN the first Fernstrecklinie the continent. His wide range of industrial interests included, inter alia, the Austrian Lloyds, the Danube shipping company, steam, coal mines in Silesia and the core of 1843 from the Wittkowitzer iron works, which he acquired 1842 for 1.5 million fl. The Wittkowitzer works developed in the course of the century into one of the largest coal and steel companies in Europe. The Gutmann co-owners were brothers.

Anselm Rothschild headed the Rothschild bank from 1855 to 1874, and was regarded as a leading banker of his time in Austria. He assured the position of his bank by the creation of the Creditanstalt. In 1855, the Rothschild family, famous for their pan-European financial holdings, joined forces with the Habsburg Monarchy's leading aristocratic families to establish the k.k. privilegierte Österreichische Credit-Anstalt für Handel und Gewerbe (the Austrian Credit Institution for Commerce and Trade). Its focus was to provide industrial finance and securities business.

Oesterreichische Credit-Anstalt fur Handel und Gewerbe was a name that played an important part in all financial histories of the 19th Century. Formed by imperial decree, this Rothschild bank became the most important commercial house in southeastern Europe. Under the leadership of the House of Rothschild, became the largest bank of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

Baron Albert von Rothschild (1844-1911) took over the leadership of the Rothschild Bank in 1874, and the control of the Austrian Creditanstalt, and he was active in the finance industry. He also was still General General of the Austro-Hungarian bank, it was a key figure of the financial system. In 1926 it took over the "Anglo-Austrian Bank" and in 1929 the Allgemeine Österreichische Bodencreditanstalt (General Austrian Land Credit Bank).

Louis v. Rothschild (1882-1955) took over the presidency of the Austrian Creditanstalt, in which the family had a 30% stake. The collapse of the 1931 Creditanstalt had an effect across Europe. When a run began on it in 1931, Austria tried to aid it, bringing on a crisis which spread to Germany where London banks became involved. The crisis became international and over half of the world was forced off the gold standard. When these transactions, together with the beginning of the Great Depression, proved too much for the CA, it was financially restored in 1931 in a common effort by the Austrian Republic, the Austrian National Bank and the House of Rothschild and merged with the Wiener Bankverein in 1934. Subsequently the bank was called "Österreichische Creditanstalt-Wiener Bankverein" (Austrian Credit Institute-Vienna Bank Association). In 1938 the majority of shares was transferred first to a holding company of the German Reich, then to the Deutsche Bank; numerous interests in industries had to be ceded; in 1939 its name was changed to "Creditanstalt-Bankverein".

After Nazi Germany was defeated, Deutsche Bank lost all of its international operations and indeed Deutsche Bank itself was broken up in pieces. In 1946, Creditanstalt was nationalised by the Austrian government. In 1946 the interests of the CA were conveyed to the Republic of Austria, as provided by the first nationalisation law (Nationalisation), from 1956-1957 40 % of the capital was sold to private investors by issuing ordinary and preference shares, from 1964 more emphasis was laid on business activities with private customers (personal loans). In the mid-1970s the CA for the first time ranked among the 100 largest banks in the world; in 1980 it opened its Technical Centre in Vienna. In the 1980s branches were opened in London, New York and Hong Kong. In 1987 the public interest was reduced to 51 %. Bank Austria Creditanstalt was taken over by Germany's Hypovereinsbank (HVB Group) in 2000, which in turn was acquired by Italy's UniCredit (UniCredito Italiano) in 2005.

The industrial group of the CA, after 1945 one of Austria´s largest, was largely re-structured and re-organised from the 1970s. In 1996, the CA held interests in industry, trade and in the service sector, such as Semperit AG Holding, Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, Universale Baugesellschaft AG, Wienerberger Baustoffindustrie AG, Donau Chemie AG, etc.

The Cantiere Navale Triestino (CNT) at Monfalcone was founded by the Österreichische Schiffahrts AG and the Skoda Werke AG, both owned by the Credit-Anstalt für Handel und Gewerbe which was backed in part by Rothschild capital.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:51:22 ZULU