Credit Agricole tells Rome no plans to win control of Banco sources

* Credit Agricole became leading investor in country's No.3 bank

* Move has stoked speculation of full takeover

* Rome would look with concern at such an option, source says

By Giuseppe Fonte and Valentina Za

ROME, April 13 (Reuters) - Credit Agricole CAGR.PA has told Italy's Treasury it has no plans to take control of Banco BPM BAMI.MI , two sources close to the matter told Reuters, after the French lender's purchase of a 9.2% stake last week raised the prospect of a full bid.

Given the French group's presence in Italy, its biggest foreign market, the investment in Banco BPM - which made Credit Agricole the leading investor in the country's No.3 bank - stoked speculation that a full takeover could follow.

One of the sources said Rome had raised no objections to Credit Agricole's stakebuilding, but any attempt to win control of Banco BPM would cause serious concerns.

The source added that Credit Agricole had reassured Rome it had no bid plans. "The French have confirmed that they do not want control of Banco BPM," the source said.

Credit Agricole and Banco BPM both declined to comment.

Under so-called golden power rules, the government has the right to block unwanted bids in industries deemed of strategic importance, such as banking, energy and telecoms.

In unveiling the stake in Banco BPM, Credit Agricole said it had not sought regulatory approval to cross the 10% threshold.

It has said it wants to expand its strategic partnerships with Banco BPM, currently centred on consumer finance, with insurance and asset management seen as the obvious candidates.


Banco BPM on Tuesday took the first step in a strategy to bring in house its insurance business and potentially look for new partners, a move that may lead it to tighten ties with Credit Agricole.

Like Italy's biggest bank Intesa Sanpaolo ISP.MI , Credit Agricole has both an asset management and an insurance business.

The sources said Credit Agricole's move had irked Italy's leading financial institutions, with one source adding the Treasury had been urged to take a stance over a potential takeover.

Banco BPM had been an acquisition target for bigger domestic rival UniCredit CRDI.MI , which was ready to launch a bid before being hit by the Ukraine war due its large exposure to Russia.

Credit Agricole's asset management arm Amundi AMUN.PA in 2016 bought rival Pioneer from UniCredit for 3.6 billion euros.

The two have a distribution accord which expire in 2026 and a person with direct knowledge of the matter had previously told Reuters that UniCredit was unhappy with sales targets under the accord.

Credit Agricole's Italian unit has more than 90 billion euros in assets after spending 860 million euros last year to buy small bank Creval, in which it had first taken a stake in 2018.

Rome in February 2021 gave a green light to the Creval acquisition, in one of the first moves by Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government.
Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Valentina Za; Editing by David Holmes

Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.

All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.

Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. Read more or change your cookie settings.

Risk Warning: Your capital is at risk. Leveraged products may not be suitable for everyone. Please consider our Risk Disclosure.