UniCredit reviewing holdings in Turkey, Poland ‘for possible sale’
MILAN - Reuters
REUTERS photoUniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank by assets, is reviewing its holdings for possible sale in an effort to shore up its capital base, a source with knowledge of the situation said on May 19.
UniCredit declined to comment.
The source told Reuters that UniCredit was assessing the possibility of reducing some of its holdings including trimming stakes in FinecoBank, Turkey’s Yapı Kredi and Poland’s Bank Pekao.
Some of UniCredit’s top investors are reluctant to stump up more cash to beef up the bank’s capital and reducing the lender’s holdings may reduce the need for a share issue.
Stretched capital levels are a nagging concern for investors in the bank, who fear that UniCredit may need to sell new shares to boost its financial strength.
Bloomberg News reported earlier on May 19 that UniCredit was considering selling as much as 15 percent of its online broker FinecoBank and was reviewing its holdings in Poland and Turkey, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
To head off pressure from top investors and soothe government concerns, UniCredit is to start looking for a potential external successor to Chief Executive Federico Ghizzoni, sources said on May 18.
UniCredit said earlier this month that its best-quality capital stood at 10.5 percent of assets at the end of March, just above a European Central Bank requirement of 10 percent and well below a level of 12.9 percent at rival Intesa Sanpaolo.