Italy's Unipol plans to shed 2,200 jobs: trade union

BOLOGNA Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:34pm EST

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BOLOGNA (Reuters) - Italy's Unipol (UNPI.MI) will shed 2,200 jobs as a result of its plans to merge with peer Fondiaria-SAI FOSA.MI to create Italy's No 2 insurer, a trade union official said on Wednesday.

The job cuts were announced on Tuesday at a meeting with unions, Renato Pellegrini, UILCA union representative for the insurance sector, said.

Unipol told the unions that half of the cuts could be absorbed by asset sales the group will need to make to comply with requests of the competition regulator, Pellegrini said.

Italy's antitrust has called on Unipol to sell portfolio assets worth 1.7 billion euros ($2.26 billion) so as not to exceed a 30 percent threshold in the various domestic insurance markets.

Unipol Chief Executive Carlo Cimbri declined to give details on any job cut plans.

With Italy approaching a general election on February 24-25, job cuts are a sensitive issue for a country with a jobless rate of 11.1 percent and youth unemployment at a record level of 37.1 percent.

(Reporting by Andrea Mandala, writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Gary Hill)

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