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Aabar increases stake in Italian bank

17 January 2012: Aabar Investments is set to become the biggest shareholder in the beleaguered Italian bank UniCredit after the Abu Dhabi Government-owned investment company said it would enhance its stake to 6.5%.
The increase is part of a rights issue that UniCredit launched in January, offering investors additional shares at a significant discount to the prevailing price at the time of the announcement.

“We are intending to participate in the rights increase and actively support UniCredit’s management and franchise in the future,” said Khadem Al Qubaisi, the chairman of Aabar, in a statement. “We intend to remain one of the largest shareholders of UniCredit post its rights issue.”

Expressing confidence in UniCredit, Khadem Al Qubaisi said, “We believe in the fundamental value of the bank and its importance in the Italian and European context. This additional investment in UniCredit further reiterates our support to the bank and its management in successfully navigating through current market uncertainty.” The statement caused the stock to rise.

Morgan Stanley is acting on behalf of Aabar in increasing its share. UniCredit is raising €7.5 billion via the rights issue to help strengthen its fragile balance sheet, suffering under difficult economic conditions in Europe and weak growth in Italy.

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