The officialization of Andrea Orcel as designated CEO of Unicredit took place yesterday afternoon unanimously by the board. The 57-year-old Roman banker transplanted to London will come in command of the bank after the assembly on 15 April, while the current CEO Jean Pierre Mustier – according to sources familiar with the dossier – will resign after the ok to the accounts on 11 February.
Orcel would have asked for time to settle the lawsuits that see him opposed to Santander (of which he was to become CEO) and to UBS, respectively for 112 million and 50 million. Orcel’s salary would also be set at a level higher than Mustier’s 1.2 million but still within Unicredit standards.
The applause of the shareholders
Considered one of the most capable business bankers, already number one in UBS investment banking and before that in BofA Merrill Lynch, Orcel received the appreciation of the president Cesare Bisoni and of the designated number one, Pier Carlo Padoan (has extensive experience and an extraordinary ability of strategic vision) but also by two important partners who supported him in the race. The chairman of Cariverona (1.76% of Unicredit), Alessandro Mazzucco, underlines the appreciable commitment of the Unicredit board in the choice of the CEO also for the protection of the shareholders, wishing Orcel good luck (for years advisor of the Veronese foundation). Full satisfaction and appreciation for the choice comes from Massimo Lapucci, secretary of the CRT foundation (1.6%): We look very carefully at Unicredit’s growth plan and at any extraordinary operations, he adds, which must be aimed at enhancing the bank in the interest of the country and all shareholders.
The wait for mergers
The market is betting on a merger on the national market. Orcel will be immediately at work, even if for now from the outside, on the MPS dossier, requested by the Treasury which by April 2022 will have to sell the Sienese institute of which it now has 64%. Mustier set the pre-conditions, namely that an operation in the interest of the shareholders and that it does not consume capital. For this reason, the Treasury has prepared a dowry that – including tax credits (Dta), possible cover on lawsuits, purchase of Unicredit npls by Amco and share of the Monte increase – is around 6 billion euros. However, Unicredit still did not enter the data room opened by Mps yesterday in favor of any parties interested in studying an acquisition. According to sources working on the dossier, no other person has so far gone to see the numbers.
But the market expects Orcel to not only look at MPS. The hypothesis of a merger with Banco Bpm (which perhaps could include Mps, in several phases) could resume; but yesterday there were also very suggestive scenarios of great operations on the Italian chessboard that would even involve Mediobanca or Generali. See you in the next few weeks. However, the stock has slightly retraced, -0.77% to 7.69 euros after the + 4.5% on Tuesday.
The decisions of Mps
Much will depend on the moves of Mps. Today the Sienese institute led by Guido Bastianini meets the board to approve the capital plan which must be presented to the ECB Supervisory Board led by Andrea Enria by January. Moreover, the ECB will take a few weeks to approve it and could also grant MPS – which has estimated a capital shortfall of 300 million in the first quarter which will rise to 1.5 billion at the end of the year – to operate temporarily with a limited deficit. The hypotheses are of an increase in two phases: a high-risk bond (At1) of 500 million in the spring, after the OK BCE; then a 1.5 billion increase that the Treasury would subscribe pro-quota, provided there are private investors. For example, Unicredit.