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Report: UniCredit looking to raise up to €16B via share issue, asset sales

UniCreditSpA is planning to raise up to €16 billion through a share issueand the sale of assets, Reuters reported Sept. 26, citing "two sourcesfamiliar with the matter."

How much capital the Italian bank needs will be determinedby its planned sale of a significant portion of its €51 billion book of dudloans, one source told Reuters, which noted Italian media reports that said UniCreditcould sell €20 billion of bad debt. One of thenewswire's sources said UniCredit will launch its eventual capital increasesoon after releasing a new strategy in late November, as it wants to avoid anyconflict with a share sale planned by Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA.

The bank is looking to keep the size of any capital increaseto between €5 billion and €6 billion, the source said, adding that assetslikely to be sold off include UniCredit's 55.4% in online lender ; its 40% stake inBank Pekao SA; andits asset management business, PioneerGlobal Asset Management SpA.

Four bidders were reported Sept. 23 to have made a shortlist for Pioneer,the sale of which UniCredit hopes will generate a gain of €3 billion. Thebank is also in talks with Poland's PZU SA over the Pekao stake, valued at €3.1 billion at current market prices,Reuters noted.

UniCredit's stake in FinecoBank is valued at €1.7 billion,but analysts say regulatory treatment of FinecoBank's holding of UniCredit debtcould complicate any sale, the newswire wrote. Because UniCreditcontrols FinecoBank, debt of the parent company held by the unit is notrisk-weighted for purposes of establishing FinecoBank's capital requirement, atreatment that would change should the online unit change hands, potentiallyaffecting its valuation.

Banca GeneraliSpA was reported Sept. 21 to have hired Goldman Sachs to adviseon a potential bid for FinecoBank, although the bond holding issue was said tobe a potential stumbling block.