Head of UniCredit denies speculation about a possible merger with Société Générale Economica.net

UniCredit SpA is fully focused on organic growth, Italian bank director general Jean-Pierre Mustier said Tuesday and rejects market speculations about a possible merger with the French banking group Societe Generale, Reuters reports.

"I want to insist that UniCredit has a reform plan that is fully focused on organic growth: the management of the bank is 100% committed to this goal," said Mustier at a conference in Paris.

The head of UniCredit has called for larger pan-European banks to support the companies and economies of the region and to help create jobs. Mustier named Germany as one of the countries where banks are not big enough and strong enough to meet market needs.

"The largest economy in Europe does not have banks that can support SMEs, this is a problem, it is not just a German problem, it is a European problem," said the managing director of UniCredit. He added: "Europe will be successful if it has larger and more efficient banks."

Last month, UniCredit shares rose at the Milan stock exchange after a financial newspaper published an article stating that the largest Italian bank was holding a consultant for a possible merger with the French banking group Societe Generale two years ago.

Discussions between the two banks to analyze the possibilities for integration and acquisition, continued the Italian financial newspaper MF, without specifying the source of its information. UniCredit has Daniel Bouton, a former general manager of Société Générale, currently at Rothschild & Co. works, commissioned to study the integration project with the French bank, given the & # 39; delicate & # 39; nature of the conversations. Societe Generale, in turn, hired JP Morgan Chase & Co, says the financial newspaper.

The speculation of a possible merger with Société Générale came shortly after the Frenchman Jean Pierre Mustier was appointed a member of UniCredit in 2016. In June of this year, the Financial Times reported that both banks are considering a merger, but that the talks are at an early stage.

Jean Pierre Mustier, head of corporate and investment banking at Societe Generale, wants to expand UniCredit after clearing the balance sheet of the Italian bank in the past two years. This month, Mustier says that UniCredit must start again on a growth path after it has achieved its goals for 2019. "We want to be one of the pan-European winners," said Mustier.

According to the Italian Ministry of Finance, Jean Pierre Mustier believes in the benefits of a merger with Société Générale, which would push the bank into a more pan-European direction.

Instead, General Manager of Société Générale, Frederic Oudea, recently refused information about a possible merger with a foreign bank. "I absolutely do not believe in cross-border mergers in Europe," said Oudea during a conference in Frankfurt in June. Oudea drew attention to the fact that capital requirements for institutions that are considered too large to collapse might discourage the merger of large banks across the continent.

UniCredit is present in 17 countries around the world, with more than 8,500 branches and 147,000 employees. UniCredit is one of the largest banking groups in Central and Eastern Europe, where it accounts for approximately 16% of its income. The Italian group is also present in Romania through UniCredit Bank Austria.

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