MILAN, July 21 The Italian real estate market has stabilised but growth will have to wait until the end of 2010 at the earliest, the chief executive of Italy's Beni Stabili (BNSI.MI) Aldo Mazzocco said on Tuesday.
"We are playing in defence but we're glad to do that since most of our European competitors are playing (behind) the goal (line)," Mazzocco said speaking at an analyst presentation.
Mazzocco said he expects conditions on the Italian property market to remain tough in the coming months, adding he sees the second half of the year in line with the first half with the same kind of buyer - families and private investors.
But if the market has perhaps steadied "we won't see the first signs of growth before the end of 2010, early 2011", he said.
Mazzocco said he does not see any big portfolio acquisitions ahead for Beni Stabili but rather selective acquisitions of single assets.
"Our strong asset base and management stability will allow us to seize the right opportunities," he said, adding the company's loan-to-value ratio (percentage of the property's value that is mortgaged) is 49 percent "but could easily rise to 70 percent".
Beni Stabili, Italy's biggest real estate company in terms of market capitalisation, said on Monday its first half net profit fell 93 percent to 4.3 million euros due to writedowns on property values. (Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi, writing by Stephen Jewkes)