UniCredito Italiano is on the verge of purchasing yet another
bank in central and eastern Europe. In March, the Italian bank,
together with German insurance group Allianz, took a further
59.1% in Croatia's Zagrebacka Banka, adding to the 20% stake
UniCredito and Allianz already holds. At press time UniCredito
had launched a $130 million mandatory cash offer for the
remaining voting shares in the bank.
With this, UniCredito will become one of the handful of
foreign banks that have become key regional players in central
and eastern Europe (CEE). "With the Zagrebacka Banca
transaction, we think we become the number one group in the
region by total banking assets," says Roberto Nicastro, deputy
CEO and head of the foreign banks and new growth division. "But
the difference is marginal between us, KBC and
Nicastro was involved in the execution of UniCredito's very
first acquisition in the...