(Recasts first paragraph, adds CEO comments, shares)
MILAN Feb 9 Italian investment house Mediobanca
is sticking to its plans to sell down its stake in the
country's biggest insurer, Generali, the subject of
fierce takeover speculation.
Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's top retail bank, has said it is
examining a possible tie-up with Generali, providing such a move
does not jeopardise its capital base and dividends.
"Mediobanca will press ahead with the sale of a 3 percent
stake in Generali by 30 June, 2019, keeping 10 percent,"
Mediobanca Chief Executive Alberto Nagel said in a conference
Nagel said Mediobanca had always supported growth at
Generali through acquisitions and would continue to do so if
they created value.
But he declined to comment on Intesa Sanpaolo's ambitions.
"We will sell 3 percent ... The rest is speculation and
hypothesis and we do not base our plans and daily operations on
this," he said.
Mediobanca, for years at the crossroads of Italian finance,
is Generali's leading shareholder. In the first half of its
2016-17 financial year, the lender booked a contribution of
134.7 million euros ($144.1 million) from its Generali stake.
Nagel's comments came in calls on the bank's second-quarter
results that saw net profit for the three months to December
almost double to 147.5 million euros, lifted by stronger revenue
in consumer banking and wealth management plus cost cuts.
The result was above an analyst consensus provided by the
bank of around 119 million euros.
Nagel said he expected the second half of the year to be
positive and confirmed Mediobanca's dividend policy.
At 0850 GMT Mediobanca shares were up 0.6 percent, while
Europe's banking index was down 0.03 percent.
($1 = 0.9348 euros)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Gianluca Semeraro; Editing by