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January 25, 2022

UniCredit likely to give up Otkritie Bank takeover plans

Italian banking major UniCredit will abandon its plans to buy Russian lender Otkritie Bank, Reuters reported citing people familiar with the matter.

Earlier this month, UniCredit had hired an adviser to review Otkritie Bank’s financial data, which is expected to complete at the end of January.

Kommersant, a Russian business daily, reported that the Italian bank is planning to pull the plug on Otkritie Bank’s takeover, which was confirmed by a source close to the matter, the news agency said. 

Bestinver analyst Fabrizio Bernardi said: “This is bang in line with our thoughts. Geopolitical tensions between Russia and NATO are material and we believe that an expansion into Russia is the last thing that Orcel has in mind.

“We believe that the only reason why UniCredit was mentioned to have an interest … is that the bank is for sale and UniCredit already has a presence in Russia so it was invited to see the M&A dossier and increase the number of potential bidders.”

Russian central bank is looking to divest the bank through an IPO or a sale. The lender was nationalised in 2017 after a bailout.

UniCredit’s Russian operation, with a headcount of over 4,000, generated $436.19m in revenue in the first nine months of 2021.

In June 2021, Mikhail Alekseev was appointed as a new member by Otkritie’s supervisory board.

Notably, Alekseev was the chairman of the management board of UniCredit’s Russian unit from 2008 to 2020.

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