August 5, 2019 / 4:39 PM / 2 months ago

Italy's Fineco sees no M&A deal on the horizon after UniCredit sale

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian online broker FinecoBank (FBK.MI) will not be part of an expected wave of mergers in the asset management industry, either as predator or prey, its chief executive said on Monday.

FinecoBank was until recently one of UniCredit’s most prized assets, but Italy’s biggest bank by assets has sold its 35 percent stake on the market in two stages - in May and July - to bolster its own financial strength.

Fineco’s main shareholder is now BlackRock (BLK.N) with a stake of 10.2%. The U.S. asset manager, the world’s biggest, has said it could consider buying other shares, but does not intend to gain control.

Capital Research and Management, another U.S. fund, owns a 5.05 percent stake while JPMorgan Asset Management Holdings has a 3 percent holding.

“If someone decides to go ahead with an M&A deal they must be sure about bagging big synergies. Otherwise merger costs will have an impact” on the success of any deal, Chief Executive Alessandro Foti told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“To be honest I think it is very complicated”, he said, adding that the willingness of foreign players to enter the Italian market should not be taken for granted.

After posting a 7 percent rise in its first-half net profit, Fineco intends to stick to a “generous” dividend payout policy for the full year, the CEO said.

Last year Fineco had a dividend payout equal to 76% of net profit.

Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro

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