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March 21, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 2:46pm

UniCredit’s Alfa Bank stake sale in disarray as Italian bank mulls Russia exit

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict

UniCredit’s plan to sell stake in the owner of Russian lender Alfa Bank has hit a roadblock as the Italian bank reviews its operations in Russia, Bloomberg reported citing sources.

In November 2021, UniCredit exercised its option to dilute a 10% stake in Alfa Bank’s owner ABH Holdings, the publication said citing an exchange filing.  

The lender expected to close the deal by March 2022, but it may be delayed because Alfa Bank faces sanctions from the European Union and the US after Moscow invaded Ukraine, the sources said. 

The deal was valued at around $317m and UniCredit would have received $137m from the sale net of liabilities.

Last week, media reports emerged stating that UniCredit could withdraw from the Russian market in the wake of war.

Speaking at an event, UniCredit CEO Andrea Orcel had said: “No conclusions can be drawn overnight, but we will report soon with more detail.

“Obviously we need to seriously consider the impact and the consequences and the complexity of disentangling a full bank from the country.”

UniCredit along with France’s Societe Generale and Austrian banking group Raiffeisen Bank International are among those with significant Russian exposure. 

The Italian bank wants to sell its stake in ABH as soon as possible, the sources said.

While the financial implications of UniCredit’s stake in ABH are minor, in an event of a full write-off of its Russian operations, UniCredit could lose billions of dollars. 

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