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May 12, 2022

UniCredit initiates talks to sell Russian arm after buyers express interest

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UniCredit has received unsolicited interest from several parties for its Russian business, Bloomberg has reported citing undisclosed sources. 

The Italian bank is holding preliminary talks for the sale of its Russian arm as the war between Russia and Ukraine drags on. 

Financial institutions and entities looking to acquire a bank licence from within Russia have approached UniCredit, sources told the publication without revealing the names of interested parties. 

The talks with potential buyers who are not subject to sanctions began recently, they said, adding that UniCredit is also considering other options other than divesture of business. 

According to the sources, UniCredit CEO Andrea Orcel is looking at transactions that would add value for the bank and avoiding deals that could affect the bank’s capital buffers.

The discussions are at an initial stage and may not materialise due to the geopolitical tensions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the sources added.

In March, UniCredit’s chief revealed that the bank is conducting an urgent review of its business in Russia and could close its operations there. 

Earlier this month, the Italian bank reported a net profit of €1.2bn and set aside €1.3bn to counter its exposure to Russia. 

In the worst-case scenario, UniCredit is staring at a loss of around €5.3bn. 

In April, French banking group Societe Generale signed a deal with Interros Capital to sell its banking and insurance business in Russia.

Austrian lender, Raiffeisen Bank International has also received an unsolicited expression of interest for its Russian business. 

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