UniCredit CEO confident on success of rights issue

UniCredit tried to reassure markets that investors will underwrite almost all of a €7.5bn rights issue, announced this week by chief executive Federico Ghizzoni.

The issue was launched at a massive discount of 69%, causing shares in the embattled group to plunge 14.45%.

The majority of the shares will be taken up by a consortium of investors that has been widened to include 27 banks, to ensure take-up. The rights issue will start on January 9 and close on January 27.

Ghizzoni said in an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore that the bank planned to keep holdings of Italian government bonds at current levels.

“On government bonds, we will continue to do what we did in 2011 at auctions. If necessary, we will buy and we’ll then contribute to sell on the market. The idea is to keep volumes in our portfolio at current levels,” he said.

UniCredit’s asset management arm is also under pressure. Pioneer Investments headed the list of asset managers suffering outflows, with a loss of just under €2bn last November, the latest figures available from Assogestioni, the Italian fund management association.

Pioneer was followed by its main rival Eurizon, which lost €1.66bn. Eurizon and Fideuram are part of the Intesa Sanpaolo group, which lost €2.2bn overall. 

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