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UniCredit to open 30 new branches in Hungary in 2013

UniCredit is planning to open the first 30 new branches in 2013 throughout Hungary as part of its expansion in the country, reported Reuters.

UniCredit, Italy's largest bank by assets, said on Thursday it had evaluated the recent positive turn in Hungary's economy, including stronger investor confidence based on fiscal prudence, and the potential for accelerating growth rooted in that.

"In 2013, which is also the year the special bank tax will be phased out, we will open the first 30 branches," it said. The bank added that the expansion will continue past 2013 and strategies will be revised annually from 2014.

Hungary's banks have been pressured by a hefty special tax on the sector, which the government levied for 2010-12 to help keep the budget deficit in check. The total bank tax is HUF 187 billion ($986 million) annually. UniCredit said it had been able to maintain profitability and increase its market share during the recent turbulent times.