By Silvia Aloisi and Gianluca Semeraro
MILAN (Reuters) – The chief executive of UniCredit
Italy’s biggest bank is looking at whether it can distance itself from its home country’s stagnating economy and fractious politics by putting some of its most prized assets under one roof in Germany, people familiar with the matter said.
Jean Pierre Mustier will unveil on Dec. 3, as part of his new business plan, a scheme to set up a new sub-holding company in Germany to house the bank’s foreign operations, the sources said.
By keeping its assets in Germany, Austria, Eastern Europe and Turkey away from Italy, UniCredit could reduce their Italian identity – and associated credit rating – making their funding cheaper, the sources said.
Mustier, a Frenchman appointed in July 2016 to reinvigorate the then weakly capitalized Milanese bank, has sold businesses, cut jobs and shut branches to strengthen UniCredit’s balance sheet. Sources earlier this year said the bank had put on ice a possible bid for German rival Commerzbank
But UniCredit, which describes itself as pan-European, operates in 14 countries and makes just over half of revenues outside Italy, is still essentially perceived by investors as a risky Italian institution.
The new plan is an indication of Mustier’s belief that the Italian economy is holding…