According to Reuters, Italian UniCredit and US-based Citigroup are exploring possibilities for swapping shares with Russian financial institutions. A share swap would enable the central banks to avoid high write-downs. According to a report, UniCredit initially rejected an offer. UniCredit has already received several offers from banks in Russia to take over the Italians’ local operations.
Allegedly, Interros, an investment firm of the Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin was one of the bidders but UniCredit had rejected the offer.
The Italian bank is one of those European financial institutions particularly heavily involved in Russia. According to its estimates, a complete write-off of its Russian business could cost UniCredit around 7.4 billion euros. The bank had said it was considering a withdrawal from Russia after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Citigroup has the broadest international footprint compared with its U.S. rivals. The bank is active in wealth management for billionaires worldwide, if nothing else. Citi declined to comment on the FT report, and UniCredit and Russia’s Interros Group could not initially be reached for comment.