Italy's biggest bank trounces expectations

AFP - [email protected]
Italy's biggest bank trounces expectations
Italian bank UniCredit reported a €1.7 billion profit last year. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank by assets size, on Tuesday surprised analysts with annual results far exceeding their expectations.


Amid an ongoing banking crisis in Italy, UniCredit reported a net profit of €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion), down 15.6 percent from the previous year, but way ahead of analysts' forecasts of €1.4 billion.
UniCredit's bottom line was weighed down by the bank's contribution to a bailout fund to rescue four Italian banks last year, and also by the cost of its own restructuring project which is to run until 2018.
Without those two factors, net profit would have been €2.2 billion, the company said in a statement.
"This is a remarkable result considering the challenging macroeconomic environment in Europe, in particular in the banking sector," the bank's chief, Federico Ghizzoni, said in the statement.
In the fourth quarter alone, UniCredit made a net profit of €153 million, against analysts' expectations of a €140 million loss.
Italian banks have been under a cloud of merger anxieties as rumours swirl about delays in talks on consolidating troubled lenders and taking toxic loans off their books.
Italy agreed last month a deal with the European Union under which it will create a vehicle to issue guarantees for investors who buy bad loans off banks.
Reducing the amount of bad loans on the books of Italian banks, which did not get bailed out during the global financial or eurozone debt crises, has been seen as key for helping the overall Italian economy.


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