Libyan government-controlled investors have become the largest combined shareholders in UniCredit after the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) raised its stake in the Italian bank to 2.075 per cent.
Consob, the Italian market authority, made the disclosure on Wednesday, saying the transaction had taken place on July 28. LIA's share in Unicredit was valued at about €800m ($1.06bn).
Unicredit declined to comment, The Financial Times reported.
Combined with an existing stake held by Central Bank of Libya, the government holds more than 7 per cent of Unicredit's capital.
LIA's move continues the diversification of Unicredit's shareholder base as the bank has grown from its Italian roots across Europe in the last decade.
The bank's largest foreign owners - including Aabar Investments, Allianz and BlackRock, the asset management firm - hold almost 18 per cent.
The two largest Italian banking foundations hold about 8 per cent. Aabar Investments, the Abu Dhabi state-linked investment vehicle, bought a 4.99 per cent stake in June.
On that occasion Dieter Rampl, Unicredit's chairman, welcomed foreign shareholders as "a signal of trust in our company".
Unicredit also announced on Wednesday that as part of its cost-cutting plan it would cut 4,100 jobs over the next three years. Cuts of another 600 already identified in the Capitalia integration have not yet been implemented.
The cuts "could risk being dramatic if there isn't an industrial plan that gives certainties for occupation", said Agostino Megale, head of Fisac, a banking and insurance sector union.
He urged Alessandro Profumo, Unicredit's chief executive, not to follow what he called the "bad example" set by Fiat in its disputes with unions over job cuts and outsourcing of production abroad.
"In order to reach structural goals related to the reduction of costs, the company has committed itself to hiring new graduates.
The formal opening of the negotiations will start at the beginning of September," Unicredit said.FT