UniCredit, Citi consider swapping assets with Russian institutions – FT

UniCredit SpA and Citigroup are investigating asset swaps with Russian financial institutions as Western banks try to avoid heavy write-downs as they leave Russia, the Financial Times said on Sunday.

UniCredit has received several offers from Russian financial institutions to buy its local subsidiary since its CEO, Andrea Orcel, said in March that they were considering withdrawing from the country, the newspaper reported, referring to unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Citigroup is the most internationally diversified of large banks based in the United States. It provides trade finance to companies and wealth management to billionaires around the world.

UniCredit received an offer from the Interros group, the investment business owned by Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia’s richest men and an oligarch who has not been sanctioned by the US, UK or EU, but the Italian bank rejected the offer, FT said.

Citi declined to comment. UniCredit and Interros did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

In March, UniCredit presented its exposure to Russia, flagging a loss of € 7.4 billion in the worst case. It confirmed its cash dividends and plans for a share repurchase, making the latter conditional on a key capital threshold.

Citi CEO Jane Fraser said last year that the bank would divest its Russian consumer business along with a dozen other consumer companies in Asia and the EMEA markets, which she said were too small to keep. Citi has since found buyers for many of these companies.

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