René Benko’s Signa property group files for insolvency

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Signa Holding, the sprawling European property empire of Austrian billionaire René Benko, has filed for insolvency proceedings in Vienna.

In a statement, the heavily indebted group said it had applied for self-administration — a concept in Austrian corporate law in which a company works to try to restructure itself, without handing full control of the process to an external administrator. 

“Despite considerable efforts in recent weeks, the necessary liquidity for an out-of-court restructuring process could not be sufficiently secured, and so Signa Holding has now applied for reorganisation proceedings,” Signa said. 

The filing will raise concerns for dozens of European banks, including Switzerland’s Julius Baer and Austria’s Raiffeisen, over their exposure to Signa and Benko, which has sent their shares tumbling in recent days. 

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