September 8, 2018 / 10:44 AM / a year ago

UniCredit to assess strategic options in 2019 business plan

FILE PHOTO: Unicredit's bank logo is pictured on block notes and pens at the headquarters in Milan, Italy, February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo/File Photo

CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) - Italy’s top bank UniCredit (CRDI.MI) will assess strategic options when drawing up a new business plan next year, its chairman said, when asked about a possible merger with France’s Societe Generale (SOGN.PA).

UniCredit CEO Jean Pierre Mustier is widely expected to seek a merger after completing a turnaround he started on his arrival in mid-2016. Analysts have often singled out SocGen as a likely merger partner.

“We have a business plan based on organic growth. We’ll have to do a new plan during 2019 and we’ll assess all available options,” UniCredit Chairman Fabrizio Saccomanni told reporters at the Ambrosetti business forum on Saturday.

For the French government, a possible merger between the two banks is not under evaluation yet. “Nothing is on the table right now,” Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Saturday on the sidelines of a meeting of European finance ministers in Vienna.

Top executives at Societe Generale have repeatedly said current regulatory conditions are not favourable for cross-border banking mergers.

Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Leigh Thomas; writing by Valentina Za and Inti Landauro; editing by Alexander Smith and Jason Neely

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