TBILISI, May 14 (Reuters) - Italian bank UniCredit wants to “defend” its business in Ukraine despite political tensions in the country, the boss of its central and eastern European division said on Thursday.
UniCredit recently pumped 250 million euros ($284.20 million) into its Ukraine subsidiary to bolster its finances and Carlo Vivaldi, deputy chief executive and head of its CEE division, suggested attempts to sell the business had faltered.
Two weeks ago Vivaldi said talks to sell its Ukraine business continued, but were difficult.
“In Ukraine we want to defend our asset,” Vivaldi told Reuters on Thursday on the sidelines of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s annual meeting in Georgia.
The capital injection was “a sign to our customers that we are here...And there has been a little increase in deposits recently. Only a little but still”, he added.
Ukraine was UniCredit’s only loss making country in the region last year and it is expected to report a loss again this year.
UniCredit is a market leader in central and eastern Europe where is competes with regional rivals like Raiffeisen and Erste Group.
Vivaldi said the bank was on the hunt for acquisitions in the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey, but bemoaned a lack of available targets.
“We need to have the opportunity and at the moment my desk is not exactly full of files,” he said. ($1 = 0.8797 euros) (Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Susan Thomas)