Business

Italian Generali to pull out of Russia as Intesa reviews business

Italian Generali to pull out of Russia as Intesa reviews business

MILAN, March 3 (Reuters) – Italy’s main insurer Generali said on Thursday it was pulling out of Russia after Moscow invaded Ukraine, while Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest bank, reviewed its presence in this country.

Generali (GASI.MI) said it would close its Moscow office and end its Europ Assistance business in Russia, confirming an earlier Reuters report based on a source.

Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), Italy’s largest bank, is conducting a strategic review of its presence in Russia, while helping staff in Ukraine leave the country, a spokesperson said.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Earlier, Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) warned of the possibility that Russia could strip the bank of its local operations, in one of the starkest warnings ever issued by a Western company on the potential impact of the Ukrainian crisis.

The French bank, whose $20 billion exposure to Russia is one of the largest among foreign lenders, said it was working to reduce risk in the country.

Generali said in a statement that it would also cede its seats on the board of Ingosstrakh, one of Russia’s largest insurers in which it has a 38.5% stake.

“There are no immediate plans to sell the stake in the short term but the group is evaluating its options,” a source familiar with the matter told Reuters of Generali’s decision.

Europe’s third-largest insurer said its exposure to the Russian market in terms of investments and insurance business was constantly being assessed.

The moves come as Western countries seek to distance themselves from Russian affairs after President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into neighboring Ukraine.

Intesa has financed major investment projects in Russia, such as the Blue Stream gas pipeline and the sale of a stake in oil producer Rosneft (ROSN.MM). It handles more than half of all trade transactions between Italy and Russia.

CONVICTION

With 800 employees in Ukraine, Intesa said it supports its employees on the ground by offering accommodation in the other countries where it operates.

In Central and Eastern Europe, Intesa also has subsidiaries in Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

“We totally condemn what is happening,” his spokesperson said.

Intesa’s credit exposure to Russia was 5.57 billion euros ($6.16 billion) at the end of 2021, or 1.1% of its total, while its subsidiaries in Russia and Ukraine hold respectively assets of 1 billion euros and 300 million euros, which together represent only 0.1%% of its total.

A spokesperson for UniCredit (CRDI.MI) declined to say whether Italy’s second-largest bank might take similar action regarding its operations in Russia, where it runs the country’s 14th-largest bank with around 4,000 employees.

UniCredit, whose exposure to Russia amounts to 14 billion euros, could easily absorb a full write-off of its Russian business given its large capital reserves.

But that would still leave it with some €6bn of cross-border exposure, including lending to large corporations.

A full write-off of its Russian business would cost UniCredit just over 1 billion euros, sources told Reuters on Wednesday, which would reduce the bank’s highest capital ratio by 35 basis points.

($1 = 0.9045 euros)

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Valentina Za, Gianluca Semeraro, Agnieszka Flak and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Giulia Segreti, Jason Neely, Jane Merriman, Jonathan Oatis and Alexander Smith

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.