December 21, 2017 / 8:36 AM / 10 months ago

UniCredit CEO says bank focused on organic growth for now - Handelsblatt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest bank UniCredit (CRDI.MI) will be focussed on organic growth for the next year or two, CEO Jean Pierre Mustier told Germany’s Handelsblatt in an interview when asked about a possible merger with Commerzbank (CBKG.DE).

Unicredit bank logo is seen in the old city centre of Siena, Italy June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

“Our strategy Transform 2019 is based solely on organic growth and we are fully and totally committed to that,” he told the newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.

In September, Reuters reported UniCredit had told Berlin it was interested in eventually merging with state-backed Commerzbank, according to two people familiar with the matter, a combination that would create one of Europe’s biggest banks.

A potential tie-up could come once UniCredit’s turnaround over the next two years was complete, they added.

Asked why he had already tested the waters with the German government about a possible merger with the partially state-owned German lender, Mustier referred back to the bank’s official strategy.

“As I said, we are fully focussed on reaching the goals of our strategy plan, which is based solely on organic growth,” Mustier was quoted as saying.

Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Keith Weir

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