November 1, 2017 / 7:43 PM / a year ago

Italy's UniCredit says $21 billion bad loan sale proceeding as planned

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s UniCredit said on Wednesday its sale of 17.7 billion euros ($21 billion) of non-performing loans had been closed and that the second phase was proceeding as planned.

Unicredit bank logo is seen in the old city centre of Siena, Italy June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

The country’s largest lender first announced the transaction in December, dubbing it FINO, or “failure is not an option”.

It divided the sale of the loans into two separate securitization vehicles, managed by U.S. funds PIMCO and Fortress Investment Group FIG.N. The debts would then be sold off gradually.

The lender’s sale was the largest of its kind in Italy and a key pillar in the plan of Chief Executive Jean Pierre Mustier.

UniCredit said it had already selected a preferred bidder on one portfolio and selected a few bidders for the other one, in a statement that came in reply to an earlier story by Bloomberg.

“The ECB has supervisory powers however the quantification of the price of the transaction does not fall under its direct remit,” the statement said.

It confirmed it would reduce its stake in the securitization vehicles to below 20 percent by the end of the year and there would be a positive impact of 10 basis points on the CET 1 ratio, a key measure of financial strength, once this was achieved.

The average sale price was 13 percent of book value and all the costs related to the deal have already been accounted for in the bank’s latest third quarter results, the statement said.

The management fees, which have not been disclosed, “are consistent with fair market price”, it added.

($1 = 0.8601 euros)

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Edmund Blair

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