March 16 (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest bank by assets UniCredit SpA plans to sell or float its Pioneer Investments asset management unit, valued at over 2 billion euros ($2.79 billion), as part of a wider disposal programme, the Financial Times reported.
Pioneer is likely to be put up for sale or flotation as early as next year, the FT said on its website, citing people familiar with UniCredit's thinking. (link.reuters.com/kum67v)
The bank posted a record 14 billion euro loss on Tuesday due to huge writedowns on bad loans and past acquisitions as it acted to clean up its balance sheet before an industry-wide health check by European regulators.
UniCredit launched a restructuring plan the same day, aiming to cut 8,500 jobs by 2018 - nearly 6 percent of its workforce.
The Milan-based lender, which could not be reached for comment outside of regular business hours, had tried to sell Pioneer four years ago, but abandoned these plans shortly after Federico Ghizzoni took over as chief executive in 2010.
Several European banks, including Lloyds, Santander and Societe Generale, have sold their asset management businesses over the past year in a bid to repair crisis-battered balance sheets. ($1 = 0.7181 Euros) (Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore and Lisa Jucca in Milan, editing by Mark Heinrich)