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Europe on course to get a new super-bank.

Europe on course to get a new super-bank.
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The directors of Italy’s Unicredit and Capitalia have agreed on a merger costing nearly 21 and a half billion euros. UniCredit’s Chief Executive Alessandro Profumo will most likely head the new bank. Capitalia’s Chairman Cesare Geronzi would be second in command.

With a combined market value of 103 billion euros it will be the biggest in the euro zone. Only Britain’s HSBC – worth 168 billion euros – would be ahead of it in Europe. The agreement now just has to get a rubber-stamp from the Bank of Italy.

The merger keeps Capitalia out of the hands of several prospective foreign buyers, one reason why Italy’s Prime Minister and Economy Minister both wanted the deal to go through.

It is expected to be the last big merger in Italian banking, marking the end of two years of consolidation in the industry.

The new venture, which will be known as UniCredit will have more than 9,000 branches worldwide.