Italy’s largest lender UniCredit is selling its stake in its online broker business Finecobank yet again in a bid to seek more capital. According to statement released by the lender yesterday, the firm is selling 17% stake in its online broker business which is nearly half of its 35.35% stake the lender currently owns. Prior to this announcement, UniCredit sold 26% stake in the online brokerage firm back in 2016 following CEO Jean Pierre Muster’s decision to initiate a strategic in-depth review in attempt to boost capital and improve profitability which netted the company over 880 Million EURO. The lender now seeks to free up more capital over their plans to meet target of $1.3 Billion Euro. According to the statement, the whole stake in Finecobank is valued at 2.4 billion Euros as per current market price while the book value is just under one billion Euros.
The statement also explained that the board of directors at both UniCredit and Finecobank have approved actions and procedures to be implemented by both firms in order for Finecobank to operate as a fully independent entity. The changes and actions are expected to allow Finecobank to functional outside the UniCredit group in the future while remaining independent entity from regulatory, liquidity and operational standpoints. The lender stated that Fineco has limited synergy with rest of its business and enabling the firm to function fully independent would allow the bank to focus on its own development and standalone growth prospects. UniCredit assured that this decision would neither have any implications for Fineco’s business model or customer base nor any form of material impact on its capital and liquidity strength or on its profitability which makes clear that this is a highly strategic move made by the lender with focus purely on increasing its capital.
Fineco bank was founded in 1999 by UniCredit with headquarters at Milan. UniCredit is well known as Italy’s largest lender which provides banking, brokerage and investing services in both domestic and international market. Fineco’s main proposition once it becomes a fully independent entity is dubbed “one stop solution” which it claims is essentially a multi-functional account with no fees attached. The bank has over one million customers in Italy and lately directed its focus towards establishing itself as a key player in UK’s financial sector by combining its banking and trading services. The bank hopes to attract more clients and increase its customer base by focusing on individuals and firms with interest in their in-app trading services which is currently used in 26 equity markets and has more than 50 FX pairs.