Italy's Doris family to keep Banca Mediolanum independent and listed

Massimo Doris, CEO of Banca Mediolanum, poses for a picture outside their headquarters, in this undated handout obtained by Reuters on September 27, 2022, in Basiglio, near Milan, Italy. Banca Mediolanum/Handout via REUTERS
  • Founding family rules out taking company private
  • Trims inflows forecast, ups interest income outlook
  • Plans to launch senior bond to continue to grow dividends

MILAN, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Banca Mediolanum's controlling family shareholder has no plans to take it private or merge its asset manager, its CEO Massimo Doris said, despite an economic slowdown which has forced the Italian lender to trim its 2022 inflow target.

"I believe - and so did my father - that being listed means being more of an institution, especially for a branchless bank like ours," Doris, whose family owns 40.4% of Banca Mediolanum (BMED.MI), told Reuters in an interview.

Other wealthy Italian families have moved to buy out other investors in the companies they control this year, notably the Della Valles who aim to delist luxury shoemaker Tod's (TOD.MI). The Benettons, meanwhile, have decided taking Atlantia (ATL.MI) private is the best way forward for the infrastructure group.

Doris took charge in 2008 of the firm his father Ennio launched as a network of financial advisers in 1982 with the financial backing of close friend and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Mediolanum, which became the first Italian bank to offer its services over the phone, is seen as an attractive takeover target. Last year it rebuffed a merger proposal from merchant bank Mediobanca (MDBI.MI), of which it owns 3.5%.

"In five years' time, I see Banca Mediolanum still independent and quite a bit bigger," Doris said.

After years of stellar growth, Italy's asset management sector has seen inflows slow as recession and inflation fears rattle financial markets.

In the first seven months, Banca Mediolanum's inflows into more profitable managed assets fell 19% year-on-year, compared with a 61% decline for a peer group made up of rival Fideuram (ISP.MI), FinecoBank (FBK.MI), Banca Generali (BGN.MI) and Azimut (AZMT.MI).

Mediolanum now forecasts 2022 inflows into managed assets at around 5.5 billion euros for Italy and Spain, down from a previous estimate of 6 billion euros, Doris said.

However, rising interest rates will drive net interest income above an initial target of 340 million euros to 390 million in 2022, rising further to 600 million in 2023, Doris added.

Mediolanum, which has been under the oversight of the European Central Bank (ECB) since Jan. 1, also is considering launching a senior bond.

"We want to gain some extra room for manoeuvre without impacting dividends," Doris said.

Mediolanum has pledged to increase dividends by two cents a year and it is looking to pay 48 cents a share on 2022 earnings.

Editing by Valentina Za and Alexander Smith

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