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UBS head rules out involvement in further mergers

The chief executive of Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, Marcel Ospel, is convinced that more mergers in the banking world are imminent. But he rejected speculation that UBS might be involved.

This content was published on January 30, 2000 - 13:18

The chief executive of Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, Marcel Ospel, is convinced that more mergers in the banking world are imminent. But he rejected speculation that UBS might be involved.

"I believe there is a further need for consolidation", Ospel said in an interview with the SonntagsZeitung. But he added that a merger involving UBS was currently not on the cards.

"Obviously we wish to grow through further acquisitions but only when they make sense economically" he said. There were no signs of UBS itself being taken over, he added.

However, another Swiss paper, the tabloid SonntagsBlick, reported speculation that UBS could be taken over by the world's third largest bank, the London-based Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation.

The paper said UBS shares were stagnating and there was widespread frustration among the workforce. It quoted an analyst as saying the bank was ripe for a takeover.

In his interview, Ospel admitted there had been difficulties associated with the merger in 1997 which created UBS. He said the introduction of the Euro, integration caused by the merger, and the millennium changeover had led to certain problems.

But Ospel said a wave of resignations had now been stemmed, and UBS had lost fewer customers than expected as a result of a merger.

He said it was now important to ensure that UBS share prices increased. "We have to have evidence that we can grow. And that will happen this year", he said.

From staff and wire reports

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