Italy's Anima sees scope for M&A without changing investor rewards

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Italian asset manager Anima Holding (ANIM.MI) has room for possible M&A deals without harming its shareholder-rewarding policies of the past few years due to the "high availability" of cash, its chief executive said on Monday.

Anima, which in November invested 25 million euros ($27 million) in Monte dei Paschi's (BMPS.MI) latest cash call, has recently been at the centre of M&A rumours as Italy's banking sector looks primed to consolidate.

"Our high availability of cash will allow us to continue with the shareholder remuneration policies of the past years, but also to look at possible external growth both on an opportunistic basis and in a context of mergers between banking groups," CEO Alessandro Melzi d'Eril said in a full-year results statement.

Italy's biggest independent asset manager posted an adjusted net profit of 155.7 million euros, down 40% from a year earlier, but slightly above Equita analysts' expectations.

Anima's board of directors proposed a dividend of 0.22 euros per share.

($1 = 0.9282 euros)

Reporting by Romolo Tosiani Editing by Gianluca Semeraro and Mark Potter

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