August 1, 2018 / 8:46 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Mediobanca sees growth next year but won't lift targets

(Recasts, adds CEO quotes and details)

By Giulia Segreti

MILAN, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Italy’s Mediobanca expects further growth next year as it pursues acquisitions but will not lift its 2019 targets, Chief Executive Alberto Nagel said on Wednesday.

The investment bank raised its dividend payout after posting record full-year results and topping a one billion euro gross operating profit target a year ahead of time.

“We prefer going ahead at the pace you have seen,” Nagel told journalists in a post-results conference call.

He added that the bank was interested in opportunities in wealth management and in consumer banking.

Nagel said that the bank, top shareholder in Generali with 13 percent, still intends to sell a 3 percent stake in the Italian insurer by June 2019.

“The sale can happen in many ways, on the market, or not, or even in exchange for other assets,” Nagel said, adding the bank intended to use the capital for further growth.

Gross operating profit for the full-year was up 23.6 percent to 1.06 billion euros ($1.24 billion), topping a billion euro target it had set for 2019 as part of a three-year plan.

Mediobanca reported a 10 percent rise in revenue to 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for the year to June 30, in line with a company-provided consensus of 2.39 billion.

It was buoyed by its consumer banking and wealth management businesses.

Mediobanca said it would pay a dividend of 0.47 euros per share on its full-year results, up 27 percent and representing a 48 percent payout ratio, in line with what had been anticipated by its CEO.

The bank also approved a share buy-back scheme for 3 percent of its share capital. Nagel said this would be used for any potential partnerships, including in the asset management sector.

$1 = 0.8564 euros $1 = 0.8560 euros Reporting by Giulia Segreti; editing by Jason Neely

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