UPDATE 2-UniCredit CEO says to decide on bad loans unit sale next week

viernes 10 de octubre de 2014 17:16 GYT

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By Silvia Aloisi

MILAN Oct 10 (Reuters) - UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank by assets, will decide by next week whether to go ahead with the sale of its bad loans unit, UniCredit Credit Management Bank (UCCMB), its CEO said.

The sale, which could yield around 700 million euros ($882 million), was part of UniCredit's plan to strengthen its balance sheet ahead of the outcome of a Europe-wide bank asset review.

"By mid-October we will decide whether to go ahead with one buyer or stop the process," Chief Executive Federico Ghizzoni told reporters in Milan in comments embargoed to Friday. "We are in the final days."

A consortium comprising U.S. asset manager Fortress and Italian property group Prelios is in pole position to buy the unit, three sources close to the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Fortress and Prelios are pitted against a group of investors led by U.S. private equity fund Lone Star after UniCredit drew up a shortlist of potential bidders last month.

Two other people familiar with the deal said the lender still planned to go ahead with the sale and aimed to finalise a deal by the end of November.

"The two offers have been received. They are interesting and there is room to improve them," said one of the sources.   Continuación...