(Bloomberg News) Julius Baer Group Ltd., Switzerland's third-biggest publicly traded bank, may cut more than 1,000 jobs after its purchase of Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch wealth management units outside the U.S.

Julius Baer is targeting a reduction of 15 percent to 18 percent in the combined workforce of about 5,700, the Zurich based company said today in a statement. The Merrill business that Julius Baer agreed to buy in August posted a first-half loss of $30.4 million, the bank said.

The bank is acquiring client assets to compete with larger rivals UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG as a crackdown on tax evasion pushes customers to repatriate funds from Swiss offshore accounts. The firm expects the acquisition to increase profit from 2015, boosting earnings per share by 15 percent that year after stripping out integration and restructuring costs.

"Before I recommend the stock, I'd like to see evidence that the cost-cutting will improve the bottom line," said Dirk Becker, an analyst at Kepler Capital Markets in Frankfurt, who has a hold rating on the shares. "It's way too early to judge this."

Julius Baer declined as much as 0.7 percent and was little changed at 32.35 Swiss francs at 2:37 p.m. in Zurich trading. That brings this year's decline to 12 percent and values the company at 6.4 billion francs ($6.8 billion).

Transaction Costs

Julius Baer previously said it expected to pay as much as 860 million francs for between 57 billion francs and 72 billion francs of assets managed for Merrill clients from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The total cost of the transaction, including integration costs and incentives to retain relationship managers, will be about 1.47 billion francs, the bank said in August.

Julius Baer is partly financing the acquisition by raising 492 million francs through a rights offering taking place between Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. The new shares, priced at 24.20 francs each, will start trading on Oct. 18, the firm said yesterday.

Merrill's wealth units employed 2,100 people in almost 30 countries outside the U.S. and Japan at the end of June, according to a presentation published today on Julius Baer's Web site. The firm said it will complete the purchase of Merrill's Geneva-based private bank in the first quarter of 2013, while the acquisition of other units by the end of the following year will add new offices in eight countries, including India and Spain.

Biggest Deal

The deal is Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi's biggest since he was promoted to run Julius Baer in 2009.

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