15 December 2016 – Expansión
The Italian bank has €360,000 million of doubtful loans on its balance sheet.
UniCredit, the largest bank in Italy, has taken its first major step in the long awaited clean up of the transalpine financial sector, with the sale of €17,700 million in doubtful loans to Pimco and the Fortress Investment Group. Experts believe that Italy’s other financial institutions will find it harder than UniCredit to clean up their balance sheets.
Massimo Famularo, analyst at Frontis, considers that “UniCredit is playing in a league of its own and its capacity to absorb losses is enormous compared with that of the smaller Italian banks”, reported the Bloomberg news agency.
The sale of doubtful loans forms part of UniCredit’s new strategic plan, which also includes a €13,000 million capital increase and the cutting of 14,000 jobs. “The inclusion of Pimco and Fortress in the sale agreement for the doubtful loans gives credibility in the market and encourages other players to make the step forward”, says Federico Montero, analyst at Evercore Partners, referring to the other Italian financial institutions with doubtful loans on their balance sheets.
UniCredit will divest these doubtful debt portfolios at a discount of 77%. That is higher than the 73% discount at which another one of the Italian banks in distress, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, is planning to sell its doubtful loans, amounting to €28,000 million, to Atlante, the Italian state fund for the bail out of the financial sector.
On average, Italy’s banks are valuing their doubtful debt portfolios on their balance sheets at a discount of 57%, according to data compiled by Reuters. UniCredit’s share price fell by 6.4% on the stock exchange (yesterday) and has fallen by 48% so far this year.
Monte dei Paschi
Monte dei Paschi, the oldest bank in the world and the third largest in Italy, confirmed yesterday that the ECB has rejected its request to extend its capital increase amounting to €5,000 million until the middle of January. The entity’s Board of Directors met yesterday and will convene again today to announce their definitive plan, according to sources quoted by the Reuters news agency. The market takes it for granted that the entity will need public aid for its recapitalisation.
Original story: Expansión
Translation: Carmel Drake