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    UCG   IT0005239360

UNICREDIT S.P.A.

(UCG)
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Delayed Borsa Italiana  -  11:39 2022-10-04 am EDT
11.06 EUR   +3.32%
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Exclusive-UniCredit widens search for buyers to sell out of Russia - sources

06/06/2022 | 04:07am EDT
FILE PHOTO: The UniCredit bank logo in the old city centre of Siena, Italy

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian bank UniCredit has widened its search for a buyer for its Russian business beyond local investors, as it steps up efforts to leave the country, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

UniCredit held talks with local bidders, but escalating Western sanctions have hampered those efforts, prompting an extension of the search to include countries such as China and India where one of the sources said buyers could be open to a bargain.

The second source said that discussions with potential investors were taking place but did not name them.

Shares in UniCredit rose more than 2% in early trade on Monday, outperforming the sector.

UniCredit CEO Andrea Orcel told analysts in May that the sanctions had progressively reduced the chances of a deal with a Russian buyer, and "the window has become quite small".

Russian businessman Vladimir Potanin, whose Interros holding company bought Societe Generale's Russian unit Rosbank, told the Interfax news agency in May he had turned down a proposal to also buy the local arm of UniCredit.

The Italian lender is looking elsewhere, though a Russian deal remained possible, the sources said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

A UniCredit spokesperson declined to comment.

Investors in China, India or Turkey - countries that have not backed sanctions against Russia - could be interested in assets whose price has been lowered by the flight of Western firms following the war in Ukraine.

UniCredit is among Europe's banks with the largest exposure to Russia, where it runs the country's 14th-largest lender.

Europe's chief banking supervisor Andrea Enria on Friday said he hoped the bloc's lenders would swiftly see through efforts to quit Russia.

Orcel, a former investment banker, has used asset swaps, switching, for example, a loan to a Russian company with a Russian bank's loan to a European borrower, to cut its exposure to Russia.

Twice, Orcel has said, UniCredit was unable to finalise major deals to reduce exposure because its counterparty was hit by sanctions just before the signing.

But Orcel this week dismissed concerns about Russia, saying it was no longer a threat for UniCredit after it booked 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in provisions in the first quarter to offset future losses.

While UniCredit has said it is evaluating all options, including an exit from Russia, Orcel has cautioned extricating the bank would take time, given obligations to staff and customers and the desire to preserve value for shareholders.

($1 = 0.9330 euros)

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni in Rome and Valentina Za in Milan; editing by John O'Donnell, Barbara Lewis and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

By Giselda Vagnoni and Valentina Za


© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
MINING AND METALLURGICAL COMPANY NORILSK NICKEL 1.03% 16720 End-of-day quote.-26.76%
ROSBANK 0.00% 111.2 End-of-day quote.46.32%
SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE 4.00% 21.59 Real-time Quote.-28.52%
UNICREDIT S.P.A. 3.32% 11.064 Delayed Quote.-20.94%
US DOLLAR / RUSSIAN ROUBLE (USD/RUB) -1.35% 58.2174 Delayed Quote.-19.64%
US DOLLAR / TURKISH LIRA (USD/TRY) 0.08% 18.5673 Delayed Quote.38.97%
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Analyst Recommendations on UNICREDIT S.P.A.
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Financials
Sales 2022 18 448 M 18 386 M 18 386 M
Net income 2022 3 514 M 3 502 M 3 502 M
Net Debt 2022 - - -
P/E ratio 2022 6,46x
Yield 2022 5,90%
Capitalization 22 374 M 22 298 M 22 298 M
Capi. / Sales 2022 1,21x
Capi. / Sales 2023 1,20x
Nbr of Employees 76 671
Free-Float 87,6%
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Number of Analysts 24
Last Close Price 11,06 €
Average target price 14,82 €
Spread / Average Target 34,0%
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Managers and Directors
Andrea Orcel Chief Executive Officer
Stefano Porro Group Chief Financial Officer
Pietro Carlo Padoan Chairman
Jingle Pang Group Head-Digital & Information Officer
Ranieri de Marchis Co-COO & General Manager
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