Intesa buys controlling stake in health insurer RBM for 300 million euros

FILE PHOTO: Intesa Sanpaolo bank logo is seen at the headquarters during shareholders meeting in Turin, Italy, April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino

MILAN (Reuters) - Intesa Sanpaolo ISP.MI said on Friday it had agreed to buy a controlling stake in family-owned health insurer RBM for 300 million euros.

Italy’s biggest bank by number of branches has been working on growing its insurance business to prop up profits at a time when negative interest rates make lending unprofitable.

The deal is the first step in a plan to acquire the whole of RBM, the third largest health insurer in Italy.

After buying the majority stake by July 2020, Intesa SanPaolo will progressively raise its shareholding between 2026 and 2029 in order to own the whole of RBM capital, the companies said in a joint statement.

The price will be determined according to the company reaching of set growth targets, it added.

The new company - Intesa Sanpaolo RBM Salute - will have a market share of almost 21% and premiums in its health business of 600 million euros.

Reporting by Andrea Mandala; editing by Giulia Segreti and David Evans