UniCredit to spend up to $14 bln on buying state debts to firms - CEO

MILAN, March 14 Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:56am EDT

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MILAN, March 14 (Reuters) - UniCredit is prepared to spend up to 10 billion euros ($14 billion) to take on payments owed to companies by Italy's public administration, the bank's chief executive said in a newspaper interview on Friday.

"We have up to 10 billion euros for these operations," Ghizzoni told Italian newspaper La Repubblica, adding that the public administration would have to confirm the validity of the claims before the country's biggest bank by assets took on the debt.

The Italian state owes some 68 billion euros to private companies, which has starved firms of cash and triggered layoffs, factory closures and even bankruptcies.

Ghizzoni said UniCredit, which posted a record 14 billion euro loss earlier this week due to huge writedowns expects to have a Basel III Common Equity Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent of risk-adjusted assets in 2016.

The bank said in presentation slides on its 2013-18 strategic plan that it was aiming for a ratio of 10.4 percent in 2016.

Ghizzoni also said the bank had set aside provisions worth 600 million euros to cover its exposure to crisis-hit Ukraine. ($1 = 0.7180 euros) (Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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