Uni­Credit to open 900 branches in cen­tral and east­ern Europe

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

LONDON: Uni­Credit SpA plans to boost in­vest­ments in se­lec­tive coun­tries and busi­nesses in cen­tral and east­ern Europe and will open 900 branches as it sees the re­gion grow­ing faster than the rest of its bank­ing em­pire.

The bank's new Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Fed­erico Ghiz­zoni pointed to some prob­lem coun­tries in the re­gion, in­clud­ing Kaza­khstan, but de­clined to elab­o­rate on any dis­posal plans. There has been me­dia spec­u­la­tion that Italy's top bank might sell some as­sets in the re­gion, where it is mar­ket leader thanks to a 6.4 per­cent mar­ket share in to­tal as­sets.

The di­vi­sion, which spreads over 19 coun­tries, is a key driver of Uni­Credit's re­turns as it gen­er­ates 56 per­cent of group pre­tax profit.

Ghiz­zoni said Rus­sia, Turkey and Poland will take the lion's share of the planned in­vest­ments as they are ex­pected to gen­er­ate 75 per­cent of to­tal rev­enue in the re­gion by 2012. "We have taken the de­ci­sion to in­crease cap­i­tal al­lo­ca­tion to cen­tral and east­ern Europe faster be­cause we think over­all re­turn and risk pro­file will jus­tify this (strat­egy)," Ghiz­zoni, who used to run the di­vi­sion be­fore re­plac­ing longterm CEO Alessandro Pro­fumo, told an­a­lysts at a pre­sen­ta­tion in London. "Cap­i­tal al­lo­ca­tion will go mostly to the most at­trac­tive mar­kets and banks," he said, point­ing to Turkey, Rus­sia and Poland. Cen­tral to Uni­Credit's in­vest­ment plan will be 900 new bank of­fices in next five years on top of its ex­ist­ing 3,860 branch net­work. -PB News

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