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UPDATE 1-UBS to sell Austrian wealth business to LGT

(Adds further context, LGT statement)

ZURICH, Dec 16 (Reuters) - UBS is selling its domestic Austrian wealth management business to Liechenstein-based private bank LGT, the Swiss banking giant said on Wednesday.

Terms were not disclosed for selling the business, which has just under 5 billion euros ($6.09 billion) in managed assets and some 60 employees.

UBS, the world’s biggest in wealth management, decided to exit the Austrian domestic business, which primarily serves wealthy and ultra-wealthy clients from two offices in Salzburg and Vienna, because it saw better growth prospects elsewhere.

“Our domestic wealth management business in Austria has developed well and yielded sustainable profits over the past few years, but our market share remains comparatively small,” the bank’s Austrian country head, Wolfgang Eisl, said.

The bank plans to redeploy proceeds of the sale to growing markets in Europe or elsewhere in its wealth management business, European head Christl Novakovic said in a statement.

The bank’s wealth management profits climbed during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising by roughly a fifth in the nine months through September. It aims to extend that trajectory through wealth generation in Asia and a digital build-out in Europe.

The bank has added its Italian domestic business to its central wealth management IT platform, and is looking to add further domestic businesses in Europe as part of its push to bring new clients on board swiftly.

LGT, which employs roughly 170 staff in Austria to serve Austria and other central and eastern European countries, said the acquisition would help bring its managed assets to some 12 billion euros in Austria and make it the leading private bank for high net worth clients in the market.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Riham Alkousaa

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