UniCredit denies pushing Pekao to buy Ukraine unit

18:34, 24 November 2008
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A spokesman for the bank told Reuters

UniCredit SpA denied on Monday a newspaper report that it is looking to make its Polish unit, Pekao BAPE.WA, pay for the promised integration of the Italian group`s Ukrainian subsidiary, Ukrsotsbank USCB.PFT, according to Reuters.

Polish daily Gazeta Prawna said, without quoting sources, that UniCredit is putting pressure on Pekao to buy as much as 95 percent of Ukrsotsbank, which is currently controlled by a third UniCredit unit, Bank Austria Creditanstalt.

"UniCredit is not planning any such operations," a spokesman for the bank told Reuters. The report was also denied by the Austrian bank.

Under an agreement between UniCredit and Polish regulators, Pekao is earmarked to assume control of all UniCredit`s operations in Ukraine. Pekao currently oversees UniCredit Bank, which was created from the merger of Pekao (Ukraine) and UniCredit unit HypoVereinsbank`s Ukrainian business.

The newspaper quoted Pekao spokesman Arkadiusz Mierzwa as saying the Polish blue-chip lender will only address the issue when a decision on Ukrsotsbank`s future is made.

Bank Austria paid 1.5 billion euro for Ukrsotsbank in 2007, but after the sharp sell-off in Ukrainian banks earlier this year the lender is valued at just one fifth of that.

UniCredit has been dogged by concerns this year that its exposure to international markets could weaken its capital ratios. Earlier this month the bank easily won approval from shareholders for a 3 billion euro capital increase.


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