Unicredit expands in Asia

15 November 2007

Following a lucrative deal, Italian bank Unicredit is more confident of its global standing.

Kazakhstan's ATF Bank was acquired by Unicredit on Thursday, which could be a sign of stabilization for the Asian bank plus an opportunity to expand into Asia for the Italian firm.

At a cost of $2.1 billion, Unicredit's investment may help ATF to cement its name in the banking sector.

"We want to be number one - why not?", Alexander Picker, ATF's chief executive, told the Financial Times.

He added that Unicredit would benefit from the acquisition, with ATF providing a hub for the Italians to further penetrate central Asia.

Kazakhstan's fifth-biggest bank is currently worth $8 billion and Unicredit is the leading foreign bank in eastern Europe.

It seems that Unicredit has pre-empted a move which is seen to be lucrative, as HSBC, ING, Paribas, and Societe Generale all expressed interest in acquiring ATF.

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