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MPS, the Mef wants to sell the bank and is looking for an industrial partner

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MPS, the Mef wants to sell the bank and is looking for an industrial partner

MPS, the Mef wants to sell the bank and is looking for an industrial partner

The previews of Affaritaliani.it are confirmed. The government intends to sell MPS and find an industrial partner, not to further dilute its stake. The call comes from Switzerland, but the topic is strictly Italian. Please be advised that the order to move quickly has arrived in the international financial markets. The Italian government intends to proceed quickly with the sale of its remaining stake, 39.23%, in Monte dei Paschi di Siena. After selling 125% of its shares in the world‘s oldest bank at the beginning of November 2023, Rome now wants to reduce its stake to a minimum. There are two options. This is what the Corriere Economy reports. The first option, politically attractive, involves the creation of a third national banking hub: it would be a significant step forward towards increasing competition in a strategic sector such as credit. It would be a point of pride for the government and a move to remember for the future.

However, if an industrial partner is not found soon, the market route would be opted for. The government appears determined to act quickly. This is what is underlined from abroad: at the moment, even a substantial offer of Monte dei Paschi di Siena shares would easily find buyers through an accelerated bookbuilding operation. Less than four months ago, in less favorable circumstances, the Ministry of Economy offered 20% of the capital of MPS, but given the strong interest, increased the offer to 25%. Since then, the market’s perception towards MPS has improved further, especially thanks to the 2023 financial results presented last month.

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Monte dei Paschi closed with a net profit of more than 2 billion euros and plans to pay a dividend to shareholders two years ahead of the industrial plan, sign of newfound profitability. If the assembly on April 1 approves the proposal and the ECB gives the green light from Frankfurt, the Italian state will collect almost 125 million euros in dividends on May 20, unless it has already sold. However, there seems to be a rush. The players on the Italian market who could be interested are few and they all declare that they are not interested. Intesa Sanpaolo cannot participate due to antitrust restrictions, while Unicredit could be interested but has already declined a similar offer two years ago. Furthermore, Banco BPM has always denied interest in MPS.

CEO Giuseppe Castagna recently completed a difficult corporate restructuring, so why would he risk another merger? Castagna has stated several times that the market does not appreciate stories of mergers and bailouts, and Banco Bpm currently enjoys a solid capitalization and one of the highest dividend yields in Europe. The field is narrowing, so you may need to look elsewhere. Carlo Cimbri’s Unipol is a possible candidate, even if he has so far denied interest in MPS. However, the government seems determined to explore all possibilities before selling its stake so as not to squander Monte’s capital without first examining all industrial options. Building a large integrated financial group is a long-term project. It remains to be seen what the next move will be and how political decisions will be influenced.

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