MILAN, March 18 (Reuters) - Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday it believed UniCredit will be able to report significantly lower loan impairment charges this year as impaired loans stabilise following a balance sheet clean-up.
UniCredit posted a record 14 billion-euro loss on March 11 due to huge writedowns on bad loans and past acquisitions as it moved to clean up its balance sheet ahead of an industry-wide health check by European regulators.
In a statement on Italian banks, the ratings agency said UniCredit, Italy's largest bank by assets, was more rigorous than many peers in raising provisions for its problem exposures.
"This should help the group as it tries to turn around its consistently loss-making Italian franchise," it said.
Fitch also said Intesa Sanpaolo's results, due next week, will likely confirm that the country's biggest retail bank has stronger capital and income generation than domestic peers.
For the full Fitch statement on Italian banks, please click here:
Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Stephen Jewkes