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UniCredit seals deal to sell bad loan unit to Fortress — Reuters

(Reuters) – UniCredit has signed a deal to sell its UCCMB bad loan management unit and a pool of non-performing loans to U.S. investment firm Fortress Investment Group, as the Italian bank sheds non-core assets to boost its balance sheet.

UniCredit said on Thursday the bad loan portfolio being sold had a gross book value of 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion).

The bank did not give financial details, but said the deal was estimated to have a broadly neutral impact on its capital and net income.

Earlier this month, sources close to the matter told Reuters a consortium led by Fortress would pay about 500 million euros in one of the biggest transactions on distressed debt in Italy for several years.

UniCredit said on Thursday it would work with Fortress and Italian real estate firm Prelios to service some loans and it expected recovery would improve.

Italy’s banks are saddled with 184 billion euros in soured loans after the country suffered multiple recessions in recent years and the government is studying ways to help them get rid of them.

UniCredit said it expected to complete the deal in the second quarter of this year.