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MILAN: UniCredit is studying ways to exit Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, but needs to find a solution for its 4,000 local staff and European companies it serves which are also trying to leave, the Italian bank’s CEO said.
With France’s Societe Generale and Austria’s Raiffeisen, UniCredit is among European lenders most exposed to Russia, where it runs the country’s 14th-largest bank.
It has flagged an up to €7.4 billion ($8 billion) loss in a worst-case scenario that wiped out its Russian business.
“We’re completing an urgent review of the country and we’re considering exit,” CEO Andrea Orcel told the Morgan Stanley European Financial Conference in London.
The former UBS banker said however that leaving was an extremely complex decision which could take time.
“It would be quite easy for me to say that we’re leaving Russia. It would be what we all want to do and it is what our minds and bodies demand … but we need to seriously consider the impact … of disentangling a full bank from the country.”
UniCredit Russia has around €8 billion in loans, locally funded by deposits.
Relinquishing the business would cost €1.9 billion at most. But cross-border and derivatives exposure add up to another €5.5 billion to the bill.
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