March 21, 2018 / 3:45 PM / 9 months ago

Italy's SIA says IPO not part of agenda, eyes deals - CEO

March 21 (Reuters) - Italian payment services group SIA IPO-SIA.MI said an initial public offering (IPO) was not part of its agenda at the moment, adding the company was aiming at growing both organically and through acquisitions in 2018.

“It (IPO) is not necessarily something we need to do as a company. We are technically ready to IPO, but we don’t have the IPO in the agenda,” CEO Massimo Arrighetti told Reuters.

SIA's shareholders include Italy's state-backed lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), which was looking to resume plans last year to float SIA after previous attempts were aborted in 2016, according to sources.

“We don’t need an IPO if we keep growing. The IPO can be in the interest of the shareholders. But we don’t have plans for the IPO,” said 60-year-old Arrighetti, who has been SIA’s chief since 2010.

However, any strategic plans that CDP might have for SIA, could have to wait until a new government is in place in Italy and a decision is taken on whether to renew the mandate of CDP’s current top executives.

Italians went to the polls on March 4 in what proved to be inconclusive national election in which voters shunted mainstream parties to the sidelines.

“SIA is growing and our finger is on the button, but it is clearly up to the shareholders to decide if it (IPO) goes ahead.” Arrighetti said.

SIA, which was founded in 1977, works with clients including London Stock Exchange, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole across 48 countries. It also operates through its subsidiaries in Austria, Germany, Romania, Hungary and South Africa.

Arrighetti did not specify the size of any deals that SIA could make in 2018.

“Yes, we are considering new acquisitions, looking around for operators who do the same job ... Germany and Austria are particular areas of interest, together with the rest of Central and Eastern Europe,” he said.

UniCredit sold its card processing activities in Italy, Germany and Austria for 500 million euros to SIA in 2016. ($1 = 0.8141 euros) (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and additional reporting by Francesca Landini in Milan, editing by David Evans)

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