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Banking

Bank M&A: No merger for ‘three-to-four years’, says UniCredit’s Mustier

Chance of Société Générale merger remote, but bigger European banks to emerge in ‘medium term’.

UniCredit’s chief executive Jean Pierre Mustier has dismissed the possibility of a merger between UniCredit and another bank until late 2021 at the earliest.

Although committed to building a pan-European commercial bank, Mustier tells Euromoney there can be “no non-organic evolution of the group [for] three-to-four years” – despite rumours this year of talks between UniCredit and France’s Société Générale, whose investment bank Mustier used to run.

While UniCredit has made progress in its operating performance and non-performing loan disposals, its stock price is down by about a third this year, largely because of adverse political and sovereign-risk developments in Italy, its home country and biggest market.

Wider German-Italian government bond spreads have weighed on its capital and funding costs.

Jean_Pierre_Mustier_2018_official-160x186
Jean Pierre
Mustier, UniCredit

These risks are a notable part of Mustier’s pessimistic assessment of the chances of imminent big bank mergers, including by UniCredit. “In the current environment, it’s hard to see anything that could happen in Europe,” he says.

UniCredit has not flagged potential mergers as a means to reaching its goals in its three-year strategic plan.

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