MILAN, April 4 French bank Credit Mutuel has
sold its entire 6.87 percent stake in Italian cooperative bank
Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM).
The French group said on Thursday its Caisse Federale de
Credit Mutuel holding company had sold the stake in the Milanese
bank on the stock market. At Thursday's closing price, the stake
was worth around 160 million euros ($219.5 million).
Investors are keen to buy shares in Italian banks to take a
bet on the country's recovery and reform drive of the new
U.S. money manager BlackRock, for example, has
become a key investor in Italy's biggest banks. Its country head
for Italy said in a newspaper interview on Friday the euro
zone's third-largest economy was "a big investment opportunity."
Credit Mutuel was a long-time investor in BPM having bought
a stake in 2004. In December 2012, the two banks agreed to
terminate in twelve months time a strategic and commercial
partnership begun in April 2004.
In January, BPM's biggest shareholder investor Andrea Bonomi
sold his 8.6 percent stake on the market after a failed attempt
to turn the cooperative lender into a joint-stock company.
Addressing a request by the Bank of Italy to modernise its
governance, BPM has announced changes aimed at giving
institutional investors greater voice, ahead of a planned 500
million euro capital increase.
($1 = 0.7291 Euros)
(Reporting by Andrea Mandala and Valentina Za. Editing by Jane