Italian bank UniCredit said Tuesday it would eliminate 8,000 jobs in Western Europe and close 500 branches by 2023 to cut costs by a billion euros.

Italian bank UniCredit said Tuesday it would eliminate 8,000 jobs in Western Europe and close 500 branches by 2023 to cut costs by a billion euros.

The mesures, which were outlined in UniCredit’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, represent 12 percent of full time equivalent (FTE) positions and 17 percent of its branches in Western Europe, the bank said.

Since taking over as head of UniCredit in mid 2016, French chief executive Jean-Pierre Mustier has reorganised operations with a reduction to date of 14,000 FTE and the closure of more than 900 branches.

The new plan was presented to investors in London and was estimated to represent cost savings of a billion euros ($1.1 billion).

Shareholders were offered an increased dividend meanwhile.

For the 2020-2022 period, UniCredit plans to pay 40 percent of net profit to shareholders, including 10 percent via a share buyback plan.

That compares with payment of 20 percent of net profit announced in 2016 and 30 percent in 2017.

In 2023 the sum is forecast to rise to 50 percent of the bank’s net profit.

In all, eight billion euros are to be paid to shareholders between 2020 and 2023, of which two billion would come in the form of share buybacks.

UniCredit expects revenues to rise by an average of 0.8 percent annually between 2018 and 2023, to reach 19.3 billion euros, the statement said.

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