UBI May Buy Minority Stake in BRE, BPCI Units From Investors

Unione di Banche Italiane SpA is considering increasing its stakes in two units as other investors seek to sell out.

Italy’s fifth-biggest bank will start a process to review the possible purchase from Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo of the remaining 24.9 percent stake in Banca Regionale Europea it doesn’t own, the Bergamo-based lender said in a statement Wednesday. The bank may also buy a 16.2 percent of Banca Popolare Commercio Industria from Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lombardia, a unit it controls with a 75 percent holding.

The board will review the feasibility of a purchase after the requests made by the two foundations, UBI said in the statement.

Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo, which owns a 2.3 percent stake in UBI, may sell the stake to raise its holding in UBI up to 6 percent, Corriere della Sera reported Oct. 29.

Chief Executive Officer Victor Massiah is reviewing strategic options amid mergers that will probably involve Italy’s cooperative lenders, or popolari banks. The bank completed a process to transform itself into a joint stock company in October to comply with an Italian law requiring the 10 biggest popolari to change their governance within two years.

UBI said third-quarter profit declined 14 percent to 37.6 million euros on lower revenue. The bank’s common equity Tier 1 ratio at the end of Sept. stood at 12.6 percent.

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