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Unicredito plans 9,000 job cuts in HVB merger

FRANKFURT -- Unicredito SpA said yesterday that it would cut about 9,000 jobs as part of its planned takeover of Germany's HVB Group, a move that would help boost operating income at the two banks by more than 50 percent over three years.

Unicredito said the deal would entail cutting around 7 percent of the two banks' combined workforce in Italy, Germany, and Eastern Europe.

At least 1,800 jobs would be cut in Germany under the merger, HVB chief executive Dieter Rample said at a news conference in Munich.

After HVB's acceptance of an $18.7 billion takeover bid from Unicredito on Sunday, the banks are hoping to raise their combined operating income from $9.3 billion in 2004 to $14.4 billion in 2007, according to a presentation the Italian bank made to analysts. The two banks, which hope to close the deal this fall, expect a combined operating profit of $10.15 billion this year.

The deal aims to create what the two banks call the ''first truly European bank."

It would be Europe's biggest-ever cross-border banking deal and create a dominant player in the former communist east. Shareholders in both companies, as well as regulators, must still give their approval.

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