SWITZERLAND - Swiss bank UBS is looking for buyers for its 20.7% stake in private bank Julius Baer.

Rumours of a possible divestment have been confirmed as UBS's lock-up agreement regarding its stake in Julius Baer ended today.

The bank said it was "looking at divestment options" as "the stake is not strategic in nature".

A spokesman for UBS explained to IPE the bank was looking at all possibilities at the moment so it could sell to a single buyer such as another bank, a pension fund or any other interested entity, or it might sell the stake via the stock market.

At current market price, UBS would get CHF4.1bn (€2.5bn) for the stake. The bank said it would use the money to buy back shares as part of the share repurchase programme announced earlier this year.

UBS acquired the stake in Julius Baer as part of a deal involving UBS' private banks.

In 2005, Julius Baer bought UBS' private banking labels Banco di Lugano, Ehinger & Armand von Ernst ad Ferrier Lullin as well as asset manager GAM, which specialises in absolute return strategies. UBS agreed to certain lock-up obligations as part of the transaction.

Elsewhere, the Pensionskasse of the Swiss canton Uri grew 9% over the last year to reach CHF636m. Returns on investment were 7.7%, which is one percentage point above their peer group.