UniCredit mulls sale of more HVB private equity investments

MILAN Fri May 23, 2014 9:18am EDT

MILAN May 23 (Reuters) - UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank by assets, is considering the sale of more of its private equity investments managed by its German unit HypoVereinsbank (HVB), its chief executive said on Friday.

A source familiar with the matter said the value of the transaction would be around 1 billion euros ($1.37 billion).

"It's on the table," UniCredit's chief executive Federico Ghizzoni told reporters. "We are under no pressure to sell by a specific date."

HVB sold last year part of its private equity portfolio to SwanCap Opportunities Fund, a private equity fund managed by Luxembourg based SwanCap Investment Management.

"The sale is part of a process that has been half completed," Ghizzoni said.

UniCredit has taken a number of measures to strengthen its balance sheet as it prepares for the financial health checks being conducted on nearly 130 lenders by the European Central Bank before it takes over as the euro zone's primary banking watchdog in November.

The Italian bank has already posted a 14 billion-euro loss for 2013 after booking huge writedowns on bad loans and the value of past acquisitions.

It is also listing up to 35 percent of its online banking unit Fineco and selling its debt collection unit UCCMB. ($1=0.7323 euros) (Reporting by Andrea Mandala and Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Greg Mahlich)