UniCredit reports doubling of profits in Q2 2013

Italy's largest bank reorganizing branches, boosting income

UniCredit reports doubling of profits in Q2 2013

Milan, August 6 - Profits more than doubled in the second quarter at Italy's biggest bank, UniCredit SpA reported Tuesday. Net income rose by almost 114% to 361 million euros in the April to June period, well above the 169 million euros reported in the same period last year, after UniCredit recorded gains of 254 million euros from buying back its own debt. The strong results come amid cost-cutting and risk reduction and despite a deep and lingering recession in Italy. And the outlook is gradually improving for the troubled economy, said Chief Executive Officer Federico Ghizzoni. "Despite the eurozone struggling to get out of recession and the negative growth of the Italian economy, UniCredit records the first positive signs of turnaround in Italy," Ghizzoni said in a statement. UniCredit said it is also reorganizing its operations in Italy, as well as across central and eastern Europe, as part of a five-year plan at strengthening its finances and boosting profits. It also announced it was increasing its loan-loss provisions to cover bad debts. Shares in the bank jumped by 1.49% in early afternoon trading after the results were released by the bank. UniCredit also announced its repayment of 2 billion euros from the total 26.1 billion euros it had borrowed from the European Central Bank as part of the ECB's cheap financing program unveiled during the eurozone debt crisis.

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