UniCredit CEO says bank's clear message is 'no M&A'

FILE PHOTO: Unicredit bank CEO Jean Pierre Mustier poses during the shareholders meeting in Rome, Italy, January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

MILAN (Reuters) - UniCredit CRDI.MI CEO Jean Pierre Mustier reiterated on Thursday that the Italian bank would stick to its strategy of using excess capital to boost shareholder returns while staying out of mooted consolidation in the sector.

Italian lenders are studying countermoves to Intesa Sanpaolo's ISP.MI surprise takeover of UBI Banca UBI.MI earlier this year, bankers say. Italy's Treasury is looking for a buyer for bailed-out lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena BMPS.MI and UniCredit is widely seen as a potential candidate.

“We have a very clear message, which is no M&A, and we use our excess capital to fund capital re-distribution,” Mustier told a banking conference organised by S&P Global.

Mustier said it was “a matter of when not if” before the European Central Bank allowed banks to resume paying dividends or carrying out buybacks. He added the boost to earnings per share from such actions was larger than what could be obtained through mergers.

Reporting by Valentina Za, editing by Giulia Segreti