* Lone Star, Prelios/Fortress shortlisted for UCCMB
* Preferred bidder to be picked by mid-October-sources
* NPL portfolio of between 4-5 bln euros also on sale
* Deal could be worth 700-800 mln euros-sources
By Lisa Jucca and Massimo Gaia
MILAN, Sept 2 UniCredit has
shortlisted Lone Star and a consortium comprising Italy's
Prelios and Fortress Investment Group for the sale of its
bad-loan management unit, and is expected to pick a bidder by
mid-October, five sources with direct knowledge of the situation
The sale, which could yield UniCredit around 700-800 million
euros, is part of the bank's plan to raise capital and
strengthen its balance sheet through asset sales ahead of a
Europe-wide bank asset review by the European Central Bank.
The unit, UniCredit Credit Management Bank (UCCMB), manages
more than 40 billion euros ($52 billion) of non-performing loans
that belong to both UniCredit - Italy's biggest bank by assets -
and to third parties.
In July UCCMB had attracted five offers from specialised
investors anticipating a wave of sales of bad loans by Italian
banks looking to clean their balance sheet as the euro zone's
third biggest economy struggles to emerge from a recession.
The two shortlisted bidders would buy both UCCMB's business
operations structure, or "platform", and a bad loan portfolio of
between 4-5 billion euros inherited from smaller Italian bank
Capitalia that it took over in 2007, the sources said.
The loan portfolio, which is old and of very poor quality,
could be valued as little as 10 percent of its book value,
meaning up to 500 million euros. The platform could be worth
around 300 million euros, one of the sources said.
According to one senior source with direct knowledge of the
situation, after the sale UCCMB will continue to manage
existing bad loans on UniCredit's books worth up to 8.5 million
For new deteriorated loans, the threshold is expected to be
1.5 million euros, meaning credit with large clients will be
managed by UniCredit directly, the source said.
Private equity fund Lone Star, real-estate company Prelios
and U.S. investment firm Fortress all declined to
comment. UniCredit also declined to comment.
UniCredit Chief Executive Officer Federico Ghizzoni said
earlier this year the bank was planning to close the sale by the
end of the year.
UniCredit's non-performing loans amounted to nearly 50
billion euros at the end of June. Of these, nearly 37 billion
euros had been generated in Italy.
(1 US dollar = 0.7622 euro)
(Additional reporting by Elisa Anzolin in Milan and Freya Berry