September 18, 2018 / 9:40 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-UniCredit focused on organic development, says CEO

(Adds comments from UniCredit Chief Executive)

PARIS, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Italian bank UniCredit is entirely focused on organic development, its Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Mustier said on Tuesday, pushing back against market speculation that its management is seeking to merge with a European peer.

The lender has been the subject of persistent reports that it is seeking a tie-up with another bank, possibly France’s Societe Generale.

“I would like to insist that UniCredit has a transformation plan which is based purely on organic assumptions,” Mustier told a conference on banking regulation in Paris. “The management of UniCredit is 100 percent focused on (its) organic development.”

Mustier made the case for larger pan-European banks that could support the region’s economies, companies and contribute to job creation. He cited Germany as one country that lacked banks that were big enough and strong enough to meet market needs.

“The largest economy in Europe does not have banks able to support its SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), this is a problem. This problem is not only a German problem ... it is a European problem,” Mustier said.

“Europe will succeed if we have bigger banks which will be more efficient,” he added. (Reporting by Inti Landauro; editing by Leigh Thomas and Jan Harvey)

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