UniCredit Raises Ukraine Unit’s Capital by $250 Million

UniCredit SpA, the largest lender in former communist eastern Europe, raised the capital of its Ukrainian unit for the second time this year as the country battles a recession, pro-Russian rebels and a tattered banking industry.

UniCredit will increase the capital of the unit by $250 million by June, the lender said in a statement Thursday. The move follows an increase in the same amount executed in March.

“The group decided to recapitalize the bank in full consideration of the actual situation in the country,” the unit’s Chief Executive Officer Graziano Cameli said during a press conference in Kiev. “We hope it is a good sign for the country, especially for customers.”

UniCredit is one of the largest lenders in Ukraine, a business it was trying to sell. UniCredit’s capital level was hurt by 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in the fourth quarter, or 26 basis points, because of its Russian and Ukrainian units, Chief Executive Officer Federico Ghizzoni said in February.

“Instead of talking about an intention to leave the country, I prefer to speak about the conditions to stay,” Cameli said. “Formally we are still available for sale,” calling that just a technicality.

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