July 8, 2017 / 12:41 PM / 19 days ago

Amundi CEO says Italian banks looking "relatively healthy"

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Amundi CEO Yves Perrier poses during a ceremony for the debuts of Europe's top asset manager on Euronext Paris stock market at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, November 12, 2015.Jacky Naegelen

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (Reuters) - Italian banks, long plagued by bad loans burdening their balance sheets are regaining health after authorities tackled several troubled lenders recently, the head of asset manager Amundi said on Saturday.

Amundi gained a major presence in Italy this year following its acquisition of rival Pioneer Investments from UniCredit (CRDI.MI), bringing in much needed capital to the Italian bank.

Banco Popular and two small Italian banks were liquidated in June after their bad loans became unmanageable, and Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) recently got approval for a 5.4 billion euro ($6.16 billion) state bailout to plug the capital hole caused by the sale of bad loans.

"I think that Italian banks are starting to be relatively healthy after Monte Paschi (and the other banks) were dealt with," Amundi Chief Executive Yves Perrier said.

Speaking at an economics conference in southern France, Perrier said those were isolated cases but nonetheless tricky politically and socially because the banks' clients held subordinated debt issued by them.

The Italian government has long come under pressure from its European partners to tackle its troubled lenders over concerns that their problems were giving investors a bad impression of the overall euro zone banking sector.

Amundi says it is the largest asset manager in Europe with 1.3 trillion euros of assets under management and ranks in the top 10 globally.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Jon Boyle

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