REFILE-Italy's BPER aims to sell more than 1 bln euros bad loans

MODENA, Italy, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Italian bank BPER Banca plans to sell more than one billion euros in bad loans to reduce the proportion of soured debts over total lending faster than originally planned, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Under a three-year plan unveiled in February Italy’s sixth-largest bank was targeting an NPE ratio below 9% by 2021.

“We are working to bring forward this target to as early as 2020, hopefully the first half of 2020”, said BPER Chief Executive Alessandro Vandelli todld reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

The banks is selecting the bad loan portfolio that it will put up for sale, Vandelli said.

He added he hoped to give more details when the bank presents its third-quarter results on Nov. 8. Asked if the planned sale would eat into the bank’s capital, Vandelli said the bad loans to be sold had a good coverage ratio and the bank had a capital buffer it could use.

BPER agreed this year to take over Unipol Banca from its top shareholder, Unipol in a deal that enabled it to separately shed 1.3 billion euros in bad loans. Vandelli said he expects the NPE ratio to fall to around 11.5% at the end of 2019.

Reporting by Andrea Mandalà, ediitng by Silvia Aloisi