MILANO – Carlo Cimbri confirms himself as an engine of Italian banking consolidation. Not the spoken one, the real one. Between Thursday evening and yesterday morning, the Unipol leader first cleared – with a nine-line note – the top management of Bper, which he will occupy with seven trusted names starting with CEO Piero Montani (and probably also the president) ; then he gave strategic indications on how it intends to create the third banking hub in Italy, with combinations that the Emilian bank must seek in the coming months. The insurance controlled by the Bolognese co-ops will remain an equity pivot, even if with a halved share compared to the 19% it has today in Bper.
The main morsel, we learn behind the scenes, remains Banco Bpm, with which a negotiating table has been open for months: but without constraints or pressures of any kind, because to integrate with the current third Italian bank “it cannot be done on the fly , and perhaps there are times that are different between the parties involved ». The new Bper, increasingly branded Bologna, must instead keep itself “open to all compatible consolidation hypotheses”: even the one that leads to Sondrio, where the popular homonymous “is a fascinating hypothesis, the most natural due to its historical proximity to Bper », Its partner in asset management and bancassurance. The messages of coldness towards what the market considers Bper’s perfect bride have nailed the shares on the stock market, after an outperformance of 15% compared to the sector in 2021, driven by speculative expectations: -3.98% the Emilians yesterday, – 1.78% the Milanese, in any case in a session of sellers.
Cimbri’s key message, exposed in an interview with Sole 24 Ore, is that Bper needs managerial discontinuity to go “from good to great as the Americans say”, but it will take a few months to run in: the board of directors will be installed in Modena after the shareholders’ meeting on 21 April almost everything is new (in addition to the Unipol list, which will give the names by the 27th, Fondazione Sardegna, a 10% shareholder, will also present a residual, unpublished list).
Various reconstructions circulate among the business bankers looking for mandates, in the common feeling that the dances are about to begin, but that possible events and combinations are still numerous. From May, the new Bper directors will need several months to take action, and at the same time close the construction site opened by the fresh acquisition of the 532 branches resulting from the Intesa-Ubi merger (paid 800 million). At least three months, maybe more.
At that point, Andrea Orcel, the new boss indicated by Unicredit to relaunch the second group in its domestic market, where it has lost almost all income capacity, will have entered the field – it happens on April 15 -. Since there are not many “transformative” acquisitions capable of modifying the competitive strength in Italy, it is clear that Orcel could woo Banco Bpm: and at that point it would be difficult for B to stand up, also because Unicredit has the financial capacity to buy the prey even in cash (yesterday the price was 3.67 billion on the stock exchange).
If, on the other hand, Unicredit wanted to accept the offer from the Treasury, which has been negotiating with the bank a dowry that has risen to about 6 billion since July as long as it buys the battered MPS, Banco Bpm and Bper would have another year to weave their marriage cloth. And maybe Bper in the meantime could try to annex Sondrio, of which it is already a member and partner, and which by December must transform itself into a spa becoming “scalable”. Yesterday Cimbri also spoke with a certain secularism about Carige (“There are no foreclosures”), while he excluded MPS which “has exaggerated dimensions for Bper”.