Italy's Popolare Vicenza seeks mergers to grow -paper
MILAN Dec 28 (Reuters) - Italian mid-sized lender Banca Popolare di Vicenza aims to boost its number of branches to 1,000 by end-2015 from 690 now through acquisitions, its chairman told an Italian daily on Saturday.
The fragmented Italian banking sector is expected to enter a new phase of consolidation from next year as small lenders hit hard by a two-year economic recession are encouraged to merge with stronger peers in a bid to shore up their capital base.
"For the past seven years we were cautious and didn't make any new acquisitions. Now the time is favourable for a move," Popolare Vicenza Chairman Gianni Zonin told Il Sole 24 Ore.
"The number of Italian banks is destined to shrink."
Unlisted Popolare Vicenza is one of 15 Italian lenders that the European Central Bank will closely scrutinise as part of a Europe-wide health check of the sector ahead of taking on oversight of banks from national regulators late next year.
He said the bank, which is rooted in Italy's wealthy north-east, was considering expanding in central-southern Italy by acquiring other cooperative lenders like itself.
Zonin mentioned regions such as Marche and Puglia, as well as Campania and Lazio.
He said Popolare Vicenza may be interested in Tuscan lender Banca Etruria although it was already present in Tuscany.
Banca Etruria said this month it was seeking a merger with a rival "of high standing".
"It's a dossier we are examining," Zonin said.
Popolare Vicenza said on Friday it had raised 100 million euros in a rights issue reserved for new shareholders.
The bank will convert a 253-million euro bond into capital at the end of next year and is targeting a core Tier 1 capital - the best loss-absorbing bank capital - of between 11 and 12 percent by 2015, Zonin said.
Popolare Vicenza said in August capital strengthening measures worth a total 506 million euros had boosted its core Tier 1 to around 9 percent. (Reporting by Valentina Za, editing by David Evans)
- Exclusive: Radar data suggests missing Malaysia plane deliberately flown way off course - sources
- Investigators focus on foul play behind missing Malaysia plane: sources |
- Kremlin website hit by 'powerful' cyber attack
- West prepares sanctions as Russia presses on with Crimea takeover |
- UPDATE 1-Rolls-Royce concurs with Malaysia on missing jet's engine data