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Generali pulls back from Russia


(Reuters) – Leading Italian insurer Generali said on Thursday it was pulling out of Russia after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, while Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest bank, is reviewing its presence there.

Generali said that it would be closing its Moscow office and would wind down its Europ Assistance business in Russia, confirming an earlier source-based Reuters report.

Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest bank, is conducting a strategic review of its presence in Russia, while helping staff in Ukraine leave the country, a spokesperson said.

Earlier, Societe Generale warned of the possibility that Russia could strip the bank of its local operations, in one of the starkest warnings yet from a Western company about the potential impact of the Ukraine crisis.

The French bank, whose $20 billion exposure to Russia is one of the largest among foreign lenders, said it was working to reduce risks in the country.

Generali said in a statement that it will also give up its seats on the board of Ingosstrakh, one of Russia’s largest insurers in which it holds a 38.5% stake.

“There are no immediate plans to sell the stake in the short term, but the group is assessing its options,” a source close to the matter told Reuters of the Generali move.

Europe’s No. 3 insurer said its exposure to the Russian market in terms of investments and insurance business was under constant evaluation.

The moves come as Western countries seek to distance themselves from Russian business after President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into its neighbor Ukraine.