Intesa opens Pravex bank branches in Ukraine safely

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The new Intesa Sanpaolo skyscraper, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is seen in Turin April 10, 2015. REUTERS/Giorgio Perrottino

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MILAN, March 4 (Reuters) – Italy’s biggest bank Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) said it was determined to support customers of its Ukrainian subsidiary Pravex Bank and was opening branches in the country to provide essential services every whenever it was safe to do so.

With 780 employees and around 45 branches, Intesa is the only Italian bank operating in Ukraine.

“Every day we are able to safely open part of our branches, mainly in the western part of Ukraine, where many of those fleeing the fighting now find themselves,” said Marco Elio Rottigni, head of the international affiliates division, in an emailed statement.

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Rottigni said Intesa units in neighboring countries were raising funds to help refugees, while ensuring that ATMs and currency exchange services were able to support the massive influx of people.

Intesa also has subsidiaries in Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic in Central and Eastern Europe.

Intesa said on Thursday it was conducting a strategic review of its presence in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

With 976 local employees, Intesa handles more than half of all business transactions between Russia and Italy. Read more

CIB Bank, the Hungarian unit of Intesa, said separately that 150 of its employees had volunteered to help Ukrainian colleagues fleeing with their families.

A task force was set up over the weekend to meet them at the border and provide transfer and accommodation, he added.

Separately, on Friday, a Buzzi Unicem source said contingency plans to ensure the safety of 1,284 local employees and facilities after the Russian invasion led the Italian cement maker to close its two factories in the northwest and southeastern Ukraine.

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Reporting by Valentina Za and Francesco Zecchini Editing by Keith Weir

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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