Italy's Banca Popolare di Vicenza to grow through acquisitions- paper
Banca Popolare di Vicenza, a mid-sized lender based in Italy, plans to increase its branches from 690 to 1,000 by the end of 2015 through acquisitions, according to its chairman, Gianni Zonin, in an interview with an Italian daily. Business news website 4-Traders reported that the Italian banking sector, which is fragmented, is set to go into a new consolidation phase starting next year. Small banks, which have suffered the brunt of the two-year economic recession, are prompted to merge with their larger and more robust rivals in an effort to strengthen their capital base.
In the interview with Il Sole 24 Ore, Popolare Vicenza Chairman Gianni Zonin was quoted, who said, "For the past seven years we were cautious and didn't make any new acquisitions. Now the time is favourable for a move." He also said the number of Italian lenders is destined to be reduced.
4-traders added that Popolare Vicenza is one of the 15 banks in Italy that will be closely looked into by the European Central Bank in its move to conduct a Europe-wide health check of the banking sector before it takes on oversight of lenders from national regulators late in 2014.
Zonin said the bank is thinking of growing in the central-southern part of Italy by buying similar cooperative lenders. Places like Marche, Puglia, Campania and Lazio were mentioned by Zonin in the interview. Popolare Vicenza has its roots in the affluent north-east part of the country.
He also said the bank might be interested in acquiring Banca Etruria, a Tuscan lender. He said, "It's a dossier we are examining." Earlier this month, Banca Etruria said was looking to merge with a competitor of high standing, the report said.
Meanwhile, Popolare Vicenza said on Friday, December 27, that it secured €100 million in a rights issue for new shareholders, the report said.