April 19, 2018 / 1:47 PM / a year ago

Generali CEO not aware of any takeover ambitions

Philippe Donnet, CEO of the Italian insurance company Generali, is seen before shareholders meeting in Trieste, Italy, April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

TRIESTE, Italy (Reuters) - The chief executive of top Italian insurer Generali (GASI.MI) said on Thursday he was not aware of anyone harboring ambitions to take over the group.

“I’ve not heard anything,” Philippe Donnet said on the sidelines of a shareholder meeting when asked about comments by shareholder Leonardo Del Vecchio.

Del Vecchio, who owns 3.15 percent of the group, had earlier said he welcomed moves like the one Italian lender Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) launched last year, even from foreign companies, since they boosted the share price.

Early last year Generali was the target of a tie-up plan by Italy’s biggest retail bank. The plan was later scrapped but it raised the pressure on Donnet to boost shareholder value.

Asked whether Generali’s new business plan due in November could include acquisitions, Donnet said it would be a financial and industrial plan.

“Obviously, as always, we will keep an eye open for opportunities,” he said.

Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro, writing by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Francesca Landini

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