UniCredit may choose preferred bidder for bad loan unit this week -sources


Oct 6 (Reuters) - Italian bank UniCredit is likely to decide with whom to enter exclusive talks for the sale of its bad loan unit this week, two sources close to the matter said on Monday.

One source added the decision could be as soon as Tuesday.

A consortium comprising U.S. asset manager Fortress and Italian property group Prelios is in pole position to buy the unit, UniCredit Credit Management Bank (UCCMB), three sources close to the matter said on Friday.

Fortress and Prelios are pitted against a group of investors led by U.S. private equity fund Lone Star after UniCredit drew up a shortlist of potential bidders last month.

UCCMB manages more than 40 billion euros of non-performing loans that belong to both UniCredit and to third parties.

The sale, which could yield Italy's biggest bank by assets around 700 million euros ($882 million), is part of UniCredit's plan to strengthen its balance sheet ahead of the outcome of a Europe-wide bank asset review.

(1 US dollar = 0.7941 euros)