Shares in UniCredit (CRDI.MI) fell on Monday hit by a report of tensions between European Central Bank supervisors and the Italian bank over its capital distribution plans and presence in Russia. Analysts said the report may signal a more restrictive approach to shareholder remuneration by the ECB, in a negative development for the entire sector.
“If confirmed, we would see the news very negatively for UniCredit and for EU banks, as they would convey a tightening of the ECB’s approach … just as profitability is growing,” analysts at Mediobanca Securities said.
Shares in UniCredit fell 2% by 1547 GMT while the sector was up 1% (.FTITLMS3010), with analysts saying the report by the Financial Times had triggered profit taking on the stock. Citing people familiar with the matter, the FT said relations between UniCredit and the ECB were tense after a number of letters where the two parties had exchanged different views on Russia and capital distribution.
A spokesperson for UniCredit reiterated comments made to the FT saying the ECB had provided constant “challenge and guidance” during the strategic overhaul by Chief Executive Andrea Orcel, and that the regulator’s “public support” showed its trust in the bank.
UniCredit in September received ECB’s approval for a second share buyback tranche of up to 1 billion euros, with analysts welcoming the green light as a sign of a “case by case approach” and good news for the sector.