Intrum enters exclusive negotiations for Cerved bad loan unit

ROME, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Intrum, Europe’s biggest debt recovery firm, has entered into exclusive negotiations to buy the bad loan arm of Italy’s Cerved, a statement from Cerved said on Sunday, as the sector gears up for consolidation.

Italy’s loan recovery industry has boomed in recent years, fed by almost 200 billion euros ($222 billion) in impaired loans shed by banks to tackle the legacy of a harsh recession. With sales slowing, players are looking to grow in size to buttress profits by cutting costs.

Intrum, which has set up an Italian joint venture thanks to a 3.6 billion euro deal with Intesa Sanpaolo in 2018, submitted in December a non-binding cash bid to buy Cerved’s bad loan business. (Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni)