MILAN, Nov 14 (Reuters) - UniCredit Chief Executive Federico Ghizzoni said on Wednesday he could not rule out spinning off the bank’s Italian operations but the issue was not on the agenda and no investor had asked for it.
Speculation about a possible spin-off has been swirling since the bank’s Chairman Giuseppe Vita said last month he would favour such a move.
“It’s an option that I do not want to rule out a priori,” Ghizzoni was quoted as saying in an interview with Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore a day after the bank delivered better-than-expected third-quarter results.
Ghizzoni said the loss-making Italy division, possibly the weakest in UniCredit’s pan-European network, was close to reaching break-even.
Ghizzoni, whose bank has an indirect interest in Generali through investment bank Mediobanca, also said Italy’s biggest insurer did not need a capital hike.
“I do not see the urgency (of carrying out a capital hike),” he said. (Reporting By Lisa Jucca; Editing by David Cowell)