MILAN, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Italian banking group Iccrea Banca will receive non-binding offers this week to select an insurance partner in a deal worth around 500 million euros ($515 million), two sources said.
Rome-based Iccrea, an unlisted cooperative banking group that ranked fourth among Italy’s top banks as of June 30 with 176 billion euros in assets, currently has an insurance partnership with Cattolica, now owned by industry leader Generali (GASI.MI), that expires at the end of the year.
Iccrea and Cattolica jointly run BCC Vita and BCC Assicurazioni. Under the current accord renewed in 2019, Cattolica held a 70% stake in both BCC Vita and BCC Assicurazioni while Iccrea held the remaining 30% of the two joint-ventures.
Iccrea’s adviser KPMG has invited bids for both the life and non-life insurance business, the sources said. The seller is looking for offers covering both divisions though they may then be sold separately, one of the sources added.
Industry players have set their sights on the more profitable non-life business and could team up with funds ready to bid for the less attractive life business, the sources said.
Earlier this year Italy’s third-largest bank Banco BPM (BAMI.MI) which has also been looking for an insurance partner decided to keep its life business in house and gather bids only for its non-life venture.
Generali, which earlier this year closed its acquisition of smaller rival Cattolica, has been looking into keeping its business ties with Iccrea, the sources said.
Other bidders include Italian cooperative insurer Assimoco and Swiss insurer Helvetia (HELN.S), one of the sources said. Generali, Assimoco, Helvetia and Iccrea all declined to comment.
French insurer Groupama has also studied the transaction but it is unclear whether it will pursue the deal further, another two people close to the matter said. Groupama did not answer a request for comment.
With 2,470 outlets, Iccrea is Italy’s second biggest bank by number of branches, it said on its website.($1 = 0.9711 euros)
Reporting by Valentina Za in Milan and Pamela Barbaglia in London;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle
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