Mediobanca open to talks on Banca Generali takeover if requested

MILAN, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Italian Mediobanca (MDBI.MI) would consider buying a major wealth management asset such as Generali’s private bank if it is offered for sale and brings significant synergies, said its general manager on Thursday.

Chief Executive Alberto Nagel was speaking after the investment bank beat analysts’ expectations in the first quarter of its fiscal year, with higher interest rates and asset repricing driving double-digit net income growth of interests.

Last month, a source said insurer Generali (GASI.MI) may sell Banca Generali (BGN.MI) to Mediobanca to raise funds for a possible big deal in the US.

“We have a wait-and-see strategy. If we are contacted, we are willing to talk about it,” Nagel said on a conference call when asked about a possible interest in Banca Generali. “This applies to all assets,” he added, not just Banca Generali.

To expand Mediobanca’s wealth management business, Nagel considered in 2020 swapping the group’s 13% stake in Generali with Banca Generali. He also proposed a merger with Banca Mediolanum (BMED.MI), but none of these moves resulted in a deal.

Net profit for the quarter came in at 263 million euros ($264.2 million), above an analyst consensus provided by the bank of 230 million euros.

Net interest income (NII) increased by 10.6% to 396.3 million euros, pushing total income to record levels. The bank expects “significant” growth in the NII to continue in the coming quarters.

Mediobanca said it was on track to meet its 2023 business plan targets by the end of June, particularly in terms of earnings per share (EPS) growth and shareholder rewards.

($1 = 0.9956 euros)

Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro; edited by Agnieszka Flak and Keith Weir

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