The Banking Times reported on Sunday that UniCredit SpA and Citigroup are looking into asset swaps with Russian financial institutions in order to prevent large writedowns as they quit Russia. According to the publication, UniCredit has received many bids from Russian financial institutions to buy its local business since its chief executive, Andrea Orcel, stated in March that the company was considering leaving the nation.
Citi declined to comment. UniCredit and Interros did not immediately respond to Reuter’s requests for comment. In March, UniCredit detailed its exposure to Russia, flagging a 7.4 billion euro loss in the worst-case. It confirmed its cash dividends and plans for a share buyback, making the latter contingent on a key capital threshold.
Citigroup is the most internationally diversified of big banks based in the United States. It provides trade finance to corporations and wealth management to billionaires around the world. UniCredit received one offer from 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 United States, Britain or the European Union, but the Italian bank rejected the offer, the FT said.
Citi Chief executive Jane Fraser said last year the bank would divest its Russia consumer business along with a dozen other consumer businesses in Asia and EMEA markets that she said were too small to keep. Citi has since found buyers for many of those businesses.
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