March 23, 2018 / 5:01 PM / 9 months ago

Intesa Sanpaolo in talks with various parties on bad loans sale

OXFORD, March 23 (Reuters) - Intesa Sanpaolo is in talks with various parties interested in buying part of its non-performing loans portfolio, chief executive Carlo Messina said on Friday.

The Italian bank had pledged to tackle its bad debts and halve its non-performing loans under a four-year strategic plan laid out in February to increase revenues.

“In two years, we have reduced our non-performing loans portfolio by 13 billion euros ($16.07 billion). We aim to cut it to 26.4 billion euros in four years. We can reach this without finding a partner,” Messina told reporters at an event at the Saïd Business School in Oxford.

“However, if we can find an agreement with a partner that allows us to shorten the collection period of unsecured loans, so that our shareholders do not lose any money, we can make a deal,” he said.

Messina also said although the bank was negotiating with various potential partners, there was no deadline or certainty that a deal would be reached.

The bank had previously said it was considering selling its debt collection business and a bad loan portfolio of 12.1 billion euros to Swedish debt collection group Intrum Justitia.

“Only if we can find a partner that accelerates the debt collection, works on unsecured loans and allows us to sell the portfolio at book value, we will make a deal,” Messina said.

Italian banks are under pressure from tighter European regulation to reduce their backlog of bad loans, which total more than 200 billion euros.

The country’s bad loan market has attracted strong interest from international investors, which are hoping for double digit returns from these assets but need to be able to manage them.

$1 = 0.8091 euros Reporting by Clara Denina. Editing by Jane Merriman

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