September 18, 2018 / 6:34 PM / 3 months ago

KRUK eyes more Italian bad loans after Findomestic deal

MILAN, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Poland’s KRUK Group is studying further investments in Italian soured loans, a senior executive at the Italian arm of the debt recovery firm said after it agreed to buy a 300 million euro ($350 million) portfolio.

Italy has become Europe’s biggest market for soured bank loans after its emergence from a deep recession that ended in 2014. Banks’ bad debts have attracted strong investor interest as pressure from regulators has led lenders to shed tens of billions of euros of such assets, usually at steep discounts.

“We’re currently looking at five to six portfolios, with an overall (nominal) value of 4 billion euros,” Alessandro Scorsone, head of strategic transactions at KRUK Italia, told Reuters after Tuesday’s deal to buy about 50,000 impaired consumer loans from household credit provider Findomestic, part of French banking group BNP Paribas.

“These are all transactions that are expected to close before the end of the year.”

Since entering the Italian market in 2015, KRUK has bought 18 portfolios of bad loans with a nominal value of about 3.1 billion euros.

It has also struck partnerships with Italian banks such as UniCredit <CRDI.MI, UBI Banca and Monte dei Paschi di Siena and directly manages 400,000 loans in the country.

To develop a debt-servicing business for third parties in Italy, KRUK acquired debt collector Agecredit last April.

Agecredit now employs nearly 90 people, Scorsone said, up from the 68 staff when it was taken over. ($1 = 0.8578 euros) (Reporting by Valentina Za Editing by David Goodman)

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