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UniCredit CEO says MPS window closed for now, 'timing is everything'

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FILE PHOTO: UniCredit's new CEO Andrea Orcel pictured in 2013
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MILAN (Reuters) - A window of opportunity for UniCredit to quickly clinch a deal for state-owned Monte dei Paschi (MPS) and implement on a bigger scale measures it is studying for its own branch network has closed for now, CEO Andrea Orcel said.

"When we announced the mutual intent to find a path towards a successful combination with the Ministry of Finance ... I said clearly that one of the advantages was that the window was open at the moment and if a deal could be executed quickly ... it could fit in our agenda," Orcel told analysts on Thursday.

UniCredit on July 29 entered exclusive talks with the Italian Treasury to buy selected parts of Monte dei Paschi. The parties announced on Sunday talks had collapsed.

Orcel said UniCredit, which will present a new three-year plan in December, was working on a number of initiatives that it could have extended to MPS branches it planned to buy.

"We thought if we executed a deal quickly we could apply those initiatives to the combined franchise. Now that window has closed for us ... I know windows close and open but for the time being it has closed," he added.

"I would say this is what we've got at the moment, timing is everything at times. And I'd say we have recovered our total focus on our standalone strategy."

(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Mark Potter)

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