MILAN, June 18 Italian insurer Assicurazioni
Generali could seal a deal to sell its Swiss private
banking unit BSI to Brazil's Banco BTG Pactual by the
end of this month, sources close to the matter said on
Generali, Italy's biggest insurer, has been trying to sell
BSI for the past two years but bankers have said the price had
proved a major stumbling block.
Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore cited market rumours on
Wednesday saying the price of the deal could be between 1.4
billion euros ($1.9 billion) and 1.6 billion euros.
One of the sources said that range was "plausible". In May,
analysts said the Swiss wealth manager could be worth between
1.2 billion euros and 1.4 billion euros.
Also in May, Generali said it had granted exclusivity to BTG
Pactual to negotiate the purchase of BSI.
Generali declined to comment on Wednesday.
Latin America's largest independent investment bank Grupo
BTG Pactual SA, controlled by billionaire financier Andre
Esteves, wants to add more fee-related activities to the
fast-growing banking empire Esteves has built since 2009.
The sale of BSI, which has assets of 90 billion Swiss
francs, is important for Generali as the proceeds would help it
shore up its capital and cut debt.
"Some approvals are still needed but once those arrive
things will move ahead. The deal could close by the end of the
month. The board was given this message last week," one of the
"It's almost a done deal," a second source said.
Generali, which is pushing ahead with the sale of non-core
assets to focus on its insurance business, has already sold
about 2.6 billion euros of assets.
The insurer wrote down 217 million euros from BSI's value at
the end of 2013 in a bid to pave the way for a sale.
($1 = 0.7383 Euros)
(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro, additional reporting by Paola
Arosio, Stefano Bernabei and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Elaine