January 30, 2019 / 10:33 AM / 22 days ago

UniCredit shareholder Cariverona rows back on M&A comments

FILE PHOTO - The headquarters of UniCredit bank is seen in Milan, Italy, in this February 8, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - A major shareholder of UniCredit (CRDI.MI) rowed back on comments by its chairman that the Chief Executive of Italy’s biggest bank was looking at international mergers.

Earlier on Wednesday, Alessandro Mazzucco, chairman of the Cariverona banking foundation, said UniCredit CEO Jean Pierre Mustier was looking at international mergers and was eying not only France but also England and Spain.

“I am fairly sure he wants to do some kind of deal ...,” Mazzucco said on the sidelines of a conference.

But Cariverona, which owns 1.8 percent of Italy’s biggest bank by assets, later issued a statement saying any views expressed on UniCredit strategy were personal, or else based on public information, and in any case were groundless.

“Cariverona states that there has been no communications between the Foundation and UniCredit on the subjects related by the media and the Foundation does not possess any non-public information,” it said.

Last December, Mustier told monthly magazine Euromoney he did not see any merger with another bank until late 2021.

The CEO had previously said the bank would assess strategic options, including mergers, after completing a turnaround plan in 2019.

During the last year there has been speculation UniCredit and France’s Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) could consider a tie up.

Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro; Writing by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Potter and Jane Merriman

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