- Italy's No.2 bank late on Thursday said it would discuss with the country's Treasury a possible acquisition of ailing state-owned rival Monte dei Paschi di Siena
MILAN: Italy's UniCredit posted a higher-than-expected second-quarter net profit on Friday, thanks to falling loan loss provisions, which the lender now expects would be lower than anticipated for the rest of the year as well.
UniCredit improved the forecast for 2021 underlying net profit, excluding one-off items, to more than 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) from around 3 billion euros, while reiterating its revenue and cost targets.
Italy's No.2 bank late on Thursday said it would discuss with the country's Treasury a possible acquisition of ailing state-owned rival Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
UniCredit, which has long rebuffed government pressure to rescue Monte dei Paschi, said it would only buy "selected parts" of the Tuscan bank in a deal that leaves its capital buffers unchanged while boosting earnings per share by a double-digit percentage. Discussions will unfold over the next few weeks.
Net profit came in at 1.03 billion euros ($1.2 billion)versus an analysts' average estimate of 736 million euros based on a consensus compiled by the bank.
That compares with 420 million euros a year earlier, when the group wrote down loans to the tune of 937 million euros to prepare for the fallout from the pandemic.
Loan loss provisions totalled 360 million euros between April and June, below the 647 million euros analysts had estimated.
UniCredit said it now expects its cost of risk, which measures provisions against loan volumes, to be below 50 basis points, compared to below 70 basis points forecast earlier.
Shrinking loan losses also helped drive profits at Barclays and Santander earlier this week.