Aabar set to raise stake in Italy's UniCredit

Abu Dhabi investment firm poised to increase stake in bank to 6.5%
Aabar set to raise stake in Italy's UniCredit
Aabar is set to raise its stake in UniCredit to 6.5%. (Getty Images)
By Andy Sambidge
Tue 17 Jan 2012 05:59 PM

Aabar Investments, the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund, is set to raise its stake in UniCredit to 6.5 percent, which would make it the bank’s biggest investor.

Aabar, which has been shareholders in UniCredit since March 2009, said it continued to be "impressed with UniCredit's market leading banking franchise in Italy and Europe".

“This additional investment in UniCredit further reiterates our support to the bank and its management in successfully navigating through current market uncertainty,” Aabar chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi said in a statement on Monday.

“We intend to remain one of the largest shareholders of UniCredit post its rights issue,” he said.

The acquisition, part of a rights issue by UniCredit, is being carried out by Aabar Luxembourg Sarl, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aabar Investments.

"We believe in the fundamental value of the bank and its importance in the Italian and European context," Al Qubaisi added.

UniCredit is raising 7.5bn euros ($9.6bn) to plug a capital shortfall and comply with the European Banking Authority’s targets.

CEO Federico Ghizzoni is also cutting costs and reducing staff to boost profitability after the Milan-based lender reported a third-quarter loss of 10.6bon euros.

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