UniCredit, Alpha Bank merge in Romania to form third-largest bank

Italian global group UniCredit and Alpha Services and Holdings of Greece have announced the merger of their Romanian subsidiaries that will lead to the creation of the third largest bank in Romania by total assets, UniCredit announced on October 23.

“This is the first acquisition that UniCredit has made in 15 years, signalling the inherent potential that we, as a business, see in Romania and in the Central and Eastern Europe region. The opportunity offered by this merger is significant not only to our current and future clients but also to the employees of both institutions,” said Andrea Orcel, CEO of UniCredit Group.

After the merger, UniCredit will rank third after Banca Transilvania (20% market share at end-2022) and Erste Bank’s local subsidiary BCR (nearly 14%), but above Societe Generale’s subsidiary BRD (10.5%).

The merger is cementing UniCredit’s presence in Romania’s “key growth market”, with Alpha Bank retaining a 9.9% stake, the Italian bank’s press release reads.

The transaction will most likely be completed in 2024, after completing the confirmatory due diligence process, and obtaining statutory approvals from all the regulatory authorities involved.

Besides the 9.9% stake, Alpha Bank will receive a cash consideration of €300mn subject to post-due diligence adjustments related to asset quality, if applicable.

Alpha Bank Romania, with a market share by assets of just over 3% at the end of 2022 (Romania’s ninth largest bank by assets), is the last Greek bank on the Romanian market.

UniCredit Romania, with a market share of 8.6% by assets at the end of 2022, was the seventh largest bank.

UniCredit Bank Romania had 3,004 employees at the end of 2022, and Alpha Bank Romania reported 1,910 employees last year.

UniCredit Bank Romania has a new CEO, since October. After a 25-year career at UniCredit, Mihaela Lupu, who was chief financial officer (CFO) for Central and Eastern Europe in the UniCredit group, was appointed to take over the management of UniCredit Bank Romania.

She thus became the new CEO and president of the directorate of UniCredit Bank in Romania, starting on October 16.

Lupu replaces Rasvan Radu, one of the Romanian bankers with the longest career, of over 30 years, who served for almost two decades at the head of UniCredit in Romania.

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