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UniCredit Group: consolidated results for 2006 approved

Ad-hoc-Meldung / Ad hoc Release
nach § 15 WpHG / pursuant to § 15 of the German Securities Trading Act

CONSOLIDATED RESULTS FOR 2006 APPROVED

EXCELLENT GROWTH OF GROUP BUSINESS RESULTS IN 2006
NET PROFIT €5,448 MILLION (+61.3%YOY)
EARNINGS PER SHARE €0.53
ROE (1) 16.7% (UP FROM 10.7% AT THE END OF 2005 PRO-FORMA) 
PROPOSED DIVIDEND OF €0.240 PER ORDINARY SHARE, AN INCREASE OF 9.1% YOY (€0.255 PER SAVINGS SHARE)


  • Strong growth in the Group's portion of net profit: €5.448 million at the end of 2006, +61.3% YOY; earnings per share at €0.53, +60% YoY
  • Value creation in line with strategic plan: increase in EVA (2) generated of approximately €1.5 billion in 2006
  • ROE 16.7%, up from 10.7% at the end of 2005 pro-forma
  • Excellent operating results featuring a robust growth in revenues and good cost control. More in detail:

Net interest income €12,860 million, +6.8% YoY
Net commissions €8,348 million, +12.3% YoY
Operating costs €13.258 million, +3.1% YoY
Operating profit €10,206 million, +27.8% YoY


Cost/Income Ratio down to 56.5% from 61.7% at December 2005
Constant and significant reduction in net impaired loans in 2006 (-21.4% YoY), the incidence of net impaired loans on total customer loans dropped to 3.23% in December 2006 from 4.26% at the end of 2005
Assets under management by the Group grew to €246 billion, (+11.4% YoY) strengthening the market share both in Italy (15.57% at December 2006 versus 15.17% at January 2006) and in Austria (16.02% at the end of 2006, +29 bp YoY)
Core Tier 1 at 5.82%, up approx. 50 bp over 2005


UniCredito Italiano's Board of Directors approved on March 21st 2007 the Group's consolidated results for 2006 (3) which show a net profit of €5,448 million (mn), an increase of 61.3% on the corresponding period in the previous year (+57.1% on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis). The operating profit (€10,206 mn) showed a substantial increase of 27.8% YoY (+24.5% YoY on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis), attributable to both a positive contribution from all Divisions (among which the Private Banking area: +38.3% YoY, the Retail Division: +33.5% YoY, the Asset Management area: +29.7% YoY) and the particularly robust performance in the CEE area (the Poland Markets Division rose by +26.1% at constant FX, while the CEE Division was up by +30.7% on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis). 

The Group's operating income reached €23,464 mn, +12.5% YoY (+10.1% YoY on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis), due to growth in both net interest income (€12,859 mn, +6.8% YoY, +6.1% on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis) and net non-interest income (€10,604 mn, +20.3% YoY, +15.5% on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis).

Net interest, forming part of net interest income, grew by 7.7% YoY (+7.2% on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis) to €12,155 mn thanks primarily to a rise in the volumes intermediated with customers.

Net customer loans for the Group totaled €441 billion (bn) (+3.8% on the end of 2005). This growth was driven by Central East Europe (+28%) and by Italy (+11%, where a good performance was reported by both the Retail and Corporate Divisions), while Germany and Austria dropped slightly. A significant contribution came from the consumer credit sector (+28% YoY) and current accounts (+18% YoY), while mortgages (down at +1% YoY) were impacted by a drop in the stocks in Germany, caused by a slowdown in new production and the sale of assets.

Total Group customer deposits amount to 288 bn, + approx. 7% on December 2005 with double digit growth in the CEE area (+16%) and in Italy (+14%).

Net interest was positively impacted by a widening in the spread following a raise in market interest rates resulting in an increased mark down on deposits, particularly in the Retail sector.

Net commissions (€8,348 mn) rose by 12.3% YoY (+10.8% YoY on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis). The best-performing components in this category were investment fund fees (€2,169 mn, +11.5% YoY), fees on segregated accounts (€295 mn from €131 mn YoY), fees for the placement of insurance products (€555 mn, +27.0% YoY) and fees linked to payment services (€1,380 mn, +19.1% YoY). 

The increase in the Goup's commissions is linked to the positive trend in the volumes of the  assets managed by the Group's asset management companies (4). At the end of 2006 volumes reached approximately €246 bn, an increase of 11.4% (5)YoY, due, on the one hand, to the positive trend of the financial markets (+1.6% YoY including negative foreign exchange effect), and, on the other hand, to positive net inflows in the year (€8.4 bn, of which more than half attributable to the US) and the acquisition of the US company Vanderbilt, that contributed approximately €10 bn to total volumes. As testimony to the positive trend in asset management, the Group's market share grew in both Italy (from 15.17% (6) at January 2006 to 15.57% at the end of December) and in Austria (from 15.73% to 16.02% in the last 12 months). The total financial assets of the Private Banking Area (including DAB and Xelion) amount to €183.5 bn, up 23% on 2005.

Net trading, hedging and fair value, equal to €1,922 mn at the end of December 2006, showed a significant increase YoY (+25.6% YoY, +25.0% on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis), thanks to the results achieved by the Markets & Investment Banking Division (€1,485 mn, +19.5% YoY). Activities involving structured derivatives with institutional and corporate clients, along with the equity business in Germany and Austria, contributed in particular to this result. 

Other net income totalled €334 mn, an increase of €488 mn YoY.

Operating costs came in at €13,256 mn, up 3.1% YoY (but only by 1.2% on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis), due to restructuring and efficiencies on the one hand and development projects on the other. This item includes an increase in staff costs (+5.3% YoY, +3.6% YoY on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis), entirely attributable to a price effect largely tied to contractual increases and increased incidence of the variable components linked to business results, as well as alignment of standards within the Group. Other administrative costs were up 2.7% YoY, that is basically in line with 2005 (+0.5%) on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis. This result is the product of significant efficiencies, above all in Germany, that almost totally offset not only adjustments for inflation, but also the increased costs tied to the opening of new branches in Central East Europe (Poland, Russia, Hungary and Bosnia) and the centralization of services and development of strategic projects (including Basilea 2) by the Parent Company.

Depreciation and amortisation (€1,267 mn) fell by 5.0% YoY, -6.6% on a like-for-like foreign exchange and perimeter basis.

The cost/income ratio improved significantly from 61.7% at the end of 2005 to 56.5% at December 2006, in line with the targets outlined in the strategic plan.

Profit before tax totalled €8,210 mn, a notable increase over the previous year (+47.5%) largely due to the positive contribution of non operating items that benefited from an impressive total net income from investments of €1,184 mn that more than offset the provisions for risks and charges (€473 mn, of which approximately €210 mn for cancellations, legal proceedings and complaints and €60 mn for lease charges on vacated buildings in Germany) and integration costs (465 million). The former also includes provisions for severance costs in Austria of more than €200 mn, charges for the restructuring of the banks in Poland and other CEE countries, the MIB Division and the foreign branch network, as well marketing and re-branding expenses.

The most significant amounts comprising 2006 net income from investments (€1,184 mn compared to €684 mn in 2005) are tied to capital gains from the sale of Splitska Banka (resulting in a gain of €367 mn in second quarter 2006), 2S Banca (€401 mn in the third quarter) and, in the fourth quarter of the year, a portion of the Munich Re shares held in portfolio (€172 mn).

Net write-downs of loans and provisions for guarantees and commitments at the end of 2006 totaled €2,233 mn (-1.8% YoY). The increase reported by the divisions and the Corporate Centres, in part due to extraordinary provisions made in Austria and Germany in order to comply with Group standards for the coverage of past-due loans and general provisions, will not impact consolidated financial statements insofar as it has already been included in the valuation of HVB Group assets as part of the Purchase Price Allocation process.

As regards the trend in asset quality, there was a continuation of the improvement already reported in the past quarters, with the Group's net impaired loans (equal to €14,276 mn) falling by 21.4% on December 2005. The total impaired loans/net customer loans fell from 4.26% at the end of 2005 to 3.23% at December 2006, with a coverage ratio of 48.9% (49.4% at December 2005).

Non-performing loans totalled €6,812 mn, basically in line with December 2005 (-0.7% YoY) if the new mapping methodology of impaired loans is applied to HVB and BA-CA, but down by 17.7% YoY on a like-for-like basis.

Income tax for the period was 25.0% higher YoY at €2,138 mn, translating to a tax rate of 26.0%, down compared to 30.7% in 2005, thanks primarily to higher gains on equity investments subject to special, reduced tax rates. Net profit, therefore, came to €6,072 mn (+57.4% YoY).

Assets in the process of being sold contributed €56 mn to net profit. Profit for the year, therefore, amounted to €6,128 mn (+56.1% YoY).

Minorities totaled €680 mn at December 2006, compared with €548 mn in the corresponding period of 2005.

Net profit attributable to the Group totaled €5,448 mn, an increase of €2,070 mn (+61.3%) when compared to 2005, amply achieving the objectives that the Group indicated in the first year of the strategic plan presented last July.

The Group's portion of net equity amounted to €38,468 mn at the end of 2006 (€35,199 mn at the end of 2005).

Core Tier 1 equaled 5.82% at the end of 2006, an improvement of approximately 50 pb on December 2005 (5.33%). The Total Capital Ratio reached 10.50% (10.16% at December 2005).

At the end of December the Group's organisation consisted of a staff (7) of 142,406 employees (-3,436 heads when compared to December 2005). This dynamic is the product of the combination of different factors: on the one hand, the reduction in personnel tied to efficiencies at the German Corporate Centre (-528), in the Retail Division (-630) and in the CEE area (including Turkey -235 and Poland -407) and the exit of companies from the Group's perimeter of consolidation (2S Banca, Uniriscossioni, Splitska and Banque Monegasque de Gestion); and on the other hand, to an increase in the resources needed to sustain commercial expansion in several CEE area countries, Russia (+536 heads) and Hungary particularly, in leasing and in the Private & Asset Management Division.

The Group's network consists of 7,269 branches (8) (+85 over the end of 2005).

The Board of Directors also approved the draft of the financial statements for UniCredito Italiano SpA that showed net profit of €3,015 million (€1,777 million in 2005).

The Board of Directors proposed a dividend of €0.240 per ordinary share, an increase of 9.1% yoy, and of €0.255 per savings share (+8.5% yoy). The dividend, in the amount approved by the shareholders meeting, will be payable as from May 24th 2007, with coupon detachment on May 21st 2007.


Notes

1) Calculated on the basis of the average shareholders' equity for the period (excluding dividends to be distributed and reserves in respects of AfS assets and cash flow hedge)
2)  EVA: Economic Value Added, equal to the difference between the NOPAT (net operating profit after taxes) and the cost of capital
3) The main changes occurring in this area in 2006 were due to the expansion of the scope of consolidation of the HVB Group with the addition of about 70 companies, and the sale of Splitska Banka (30 June 2006), Uniriscossioni and 2S Banca (end-September 2006) and Banque Monégasque de Gestion (early October 2006). New entries in H1 2006 included: in Q1 2006 the 38 companies from the Immobilien Group HVB Bank Latvia, Joint Stock Commercial Bank HVB Ukraine, several companies from the BA-CA sub-group (including Nova Banjalucka Banka, CAIB International Markets and BPH Investment Fund Company) and several other smaller companies were fully consolidated giving a total of 48 companies; while in Q2 2006 the area of consolidation of the HVB Group expanded to include HVB Capital Partners AG and 19 subsidiaries of BA-CA; 17 companies of the latter comprise the real estate sub-group Universale International Realitäten GmbH
4) Figures refer to Pioneer Group, Nordinvest and Capitalinvest
5) The 2005 figures include the transfer of AMG's (Austria) assets under management from Asset Management to Private Banking
6) Calculated using the new Assogestioni criteria effective as from 2006 that includes statistics relative to foreign funds
7) "Full time equivalent ". In the figures reported the KFS Group, proportionately consolidated, is included at 100%. If the KFS Group is considered proportionately, the total consolidated amounts to €132,849 for December 2006 and €136,144 for December 2005. The latter restated based on the new ownership structure following the merger of Kocbank in Yapi Kredi.
8) In the figures indicated the KFS Group, proportionately consolidated, is included at 100%.




These assessments are subject to the following disclaimer:
Certain of the statements contained herein may be statements of future expectations and other forward-looking statements that are based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. UniCredito Italiano S.p.A. assumes no obligation to update any information contained herein.



Attached are the Group's key figures, the Group's reclassified balance sheet and income statement, the Group's reclassified quarterly income statement for 2005 and 2006 and the main Divisional Results. Pls. note that the documents have not yet been certified by the Independent Auditors.

Milan, March 22nd 2007

UniCredito Italiano S.p.A.
Via San Protaso 1/3
20121 Milano
Italien

Securities listed on German regulated markets:
ISIN IT0000064854
WKN: 850832
Listed: Official Market (Amtlicher Markt), Frankfurt Stock Exchange (General Standard)


Investor Relations: Tel. +39-02-88628715; e-mail: investorrelations@unicreditgroup.eu
Media Relations: Tel. +39-02-88628236; e-mail: mediarelations@unicreditgroup.eu