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Intesa Sanpaolo said its examination of a potential takeover bid for the insurer Generali remains “only the subject of a case study” as the Italian bank prepared to announce full-year results later on Friday.

Italy’s largest bank by market capitalisation confirmed last week that it was weighing a bid for Italy’s largest insurer Generali, sending shockwaves through Italy’s tight-knit financial community.

The mooted deal, if successful, would reshape Italian finance, creating a financial colossus in Italy with a combined market value of €60bn, dwarfing Intesa’s nearest rival UniCredit.

Shares in Intesa have fallen 10 per cent since news of the potential deal first surfaced last week, partly on fears that it could affect the bank’s dividend.

The bank said in a short statement on Friday morning:

Intesa Sanpaolo confirms, therefore, that possible industrial combinations with Assicurazioni Generali continue to be only the subject of a case study, which is part of the various analyses that the bank’s management regularly carries out about the group’s options for growth, both internal and external.

Regulators have been pushing most Italian banks to reduce their high levels of non-performing loans and may be reluctant to allow Intesa to embark on a potentially risky expansion into insurance at a time when there are worries about both the health of the eurozone banking system and the region’s political stability.

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