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MILAN Oct 3 Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo is
not interested in buying other lenders in Italy, its new chief
executive told business daily Il Sole-24 Ore on Thursday,
contradicting media reports it might be interested in deals.
"We have no plans to buy or merge with banks in Italy,"
Carlo Messina said in his first interview since taking over at
the helm of Italy's largest retail bank this week.
Last Sunday, Intesa Sanpaolo ousted Enrico Cucchiani as CEO
after he clashed with the powerful chairman of the lender's
supervisory board and several shareholders.
Messina denied the bank had ambitions with regard to
struggling domestic rival Monte dei Paschi di Siena,
adding such rumours were pure fantasy also for foreign players.
"I categorically exclude being interested in (Germany's)
Commerzbank," Messina added.
Messina, formerly chief financial officer at the bank and
the first insider to be appointed CEO, also said paying a
dividend remained a priority for the bank.
The 51-year old added the bank would continue to do its part
to help kickstart the Italian economy by continuing to lend.
"Overall loans to families and Italian companies is 420
billion euros, just less than one-third of Italian GDP," he
Like other Italian banks, Intesa Sanpaolo has come under
pressure from non-performing loans as Italy's longest recession
in 60 years takes its toll on the balance sheet.
Messina, who noted the bank's BOT and BTP bond portfolio
stood at 60 billion euros, said the bank would unveil a new
business plan in the spring of 2014.
"The bank will have a new business plan ready, which has
been postponed for years due to poor visibility of the
macroeconomic outlook," he said.
(Reporting by Jennifer Clark and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by
David Cowell and mark Potter)