Italian UniCredit among Russian bank Otkritie contenders, source says

A UniCredit logo can be seen in downtown Rome on May 10, 2016. REUTERS / Tony Gentile

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MILAN, Jan.11 (Reuters) – UniCredit (CRDI.MI), Italy’s second-largest bank, is among lenders interested in Russian bank Otkritie, which is looking for potential suitors more than four years after being bailed out, according to a person close to the case. noted.

Once Russia’s largest private bank in terms of assets, Otkritie was rescued by the central bank in 2017 in a large-scale purge of the banking system that led to the shutdown of hundreds of lenders.

The central bank said it was considering an initial public offering or sale to a strategic investor to reduce its stake in Otkritie, which nearly doubled profit to 58.7 billion rubles ($ 788 million) in the past nine first months of 2021.

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Otkritie declined to comment. UniCredit, which has been operating in Russia since 1989, was not immediately available for comment.

News of UniCredit’s interest in Otkritie was first reported by Bloomberg News.

UniCredit shares extended losses on Tuesday after close reports of 1.1%

Managing Director Andrea Orcel said in December during the presentation of a new business plan that UniCredit would consider mergers and acquisitions in the countries where it operates if it helps strengthen its franchise and meet its performance targets.

Orcel, who built his career in investment banking to become one of Europe’s best-known negotiators, dropped the acquisition of public rival Monte dei Paschi (BMPS.MI) in October after failing to come to an agreement with the Italian Treasury.

($ 1 = 74.5022 rubles)

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Report by Valentina Za in Milan and Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow; Editing by David Clarke

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