UniCredit sticks to forecasts as results impress

ITALY’S biggest bank UniCredit could meet analysts’ forecast for 2011 results despite being pummelled by a spreading Eurozone debt crisis, chief executive Federico Ghizzoni said yesterday.

Ghizzoni said the bank completed 85 per cent of its 2011 funding plan last month, insulating itself from higher costs as Italian government bond yields hit euro-era records.

Speaking after the lender posted forecast-beating second-quarter net profit, he said UniCredit and other Italian banks had become targets for speculative short-sellers of liquid shares as fears spread that the euro zone’s third-largest economy is being sucked into a widening debt crisis.

“It’s really difficult to make forecasts with this volatility, but it’s certain that we will close 2011 better than in 2010,” Ghizzoni said.

Net profit was €511m (£445.5m) despite a €105m writedown on Greek government bonds, the bank said in a statement.