(Adding quotes, background, company reaction)
MILAN Oct 22 Italian insurer Generali
is looking at alternatives to the sale of its Swiss private
banking business BSI, including an initial public offering,
people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
A planned sale stalled months ago because the parties could
not agree on pricing, Reuters reported on Aug. 1.
"Generali is encountering quite some difficulty and
therefore is considering possible alternatives," said one of the
people familiar with the situation. "An IPO is surely one of
them, but nothing has been decided or planned."
The sale of BSI, which has an estimated book value of 2.3
billion Swiss francs ($2.5 billion), is important for Generali
as the proceeds would help it shore up its capital and cut debt.
Generali declined to comment.
A second person said that "one of the possible alternatives
could be the sale of BSI in bits and pieces, or an IPO, which
could happen in the fall of 2014".
A third source said the sale was no longer as urgent as it
was a few months ago, since Generali had already raised more
than half of the 4 billion euros it had targeted in asset sales
by the end of 2015.
(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Oliver Hirt, writing by
Jennifer Clark; Editing by Kevin Liffey)