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The Intrum-Intesa plan is ready: the target is NPL and the other platforms

17 May, Il Sole 24 Ore

The Intrum-Intesa platform is warming up. In the past few weeks, the servicer born from the NPL platforms of the two companies has made the first steps towards the creation of the corporate organization. The authorizations from the ECB and Banca d’Italia will come in the next months. The activity will then officially start in November, with the new headquarters (most likely in Milan) and the participation of about one thousand employees, 600 of which coming from Capital Light Bank of Banca Intesa and the remaining from Intrum. They manage approximately NPL for 40 billion, 30 of which originated by Intesa (10 of which have been securitised) and 10 from coming from Intrum.

The new company will be the third servicer in Italy after doBank and Cerved. The objective is to grow rapidly in order to get closer in a couple of years to leading companies such as doBank which has the double of managed assets. “We aim at competing on the market at 360 degrees, focusing on NPL management not only for financial companies and on platforms of other banks”, explains Giovanni Gilli, president of Capital Light Bank of Banca Intesa. Having looked after the whole process on behalf of Intesa Sanpaolo and being the ideal candidate for covering the role of president of the new company, Gilli looks at the future of the creature. Once consolidated, besides acting like a magnet for other internal servicers, the company might broaden the offer including also other products, starting from advisory. “I’m thinking, for instance, about leasing, UTP and real estate, a field not yet widely explored in Italy but with a lot of potential in terms of range of services”. However, Intrum will have the last word since they’ll be the ones to nominate the new Ceo due to their 51% quota. There is plenty of room for manoeuvre. The company might obtain a banking license, with the purpose of issuing new funding, or open to third-party capitals, or list on the Stock Exchange. All these scenarios are possible.

Certainly, it’s time to take stock of an agreement that positively surprised the market for the values of the securitisation. The operation, which saw Banca Imi among the arrangers, allowed Intesa to access NPL for about 10.8 billion at 28.7% of the face value. The price corresponds to the book value, in comparison with other less convenient deals of other banks. Let’s take, for instance, the 13% of UniCredit with the Fino portfolio (over 17.7 billion) and the 20% of the 24.5 billion securitised by Mps. “The price of the agreement is justified by reasonable collection projections thanks to an improved economic context and an efficient collection system”, explains Gilli. He denies the presence of any “hidden” remunerations in the agreement. “There are no hidden rewards since we’re strictly monitored by the regulating authorities and because we want to be transparent with the market”. Therefore, rather than a good price, “it’s better to talk about the right price, that wouldn’t have been possible two years ago and that is also the result of the strategic interest of Intrum in building a top platform in Italy”.

The combination between securitisation and transfer of the platform, valued around 500 million, was fundamental to the success of the agreement. A purely financial operator such as the Chinese Cefc (that “took part in the competition”) wouldn’t have been the most efficient solution. Hence, it was decided for a leader in Europe in the NPL field such as the Stockholm-based group. It’s not by chance that the operation “was completed in record times”, thanks also to the pressing by the ECB with the introduction of the addendum.

Certainly, the agreement with the Nordic company wasn’t reached overnight. On the contrary, the work started a long time ago. In fact, the achievement wouldn’t have been possible without “the progressive NPL disposal process carried out by Capital Light Bank in the past few years”. The company was founded in 2014 to dispose of the non-core assets of Intesa and little by little had disposed of 28 billion of the initial 52. There are still about 5/6 billion left at present. Hence, the work is not over, also because the servicing will be carried out by Capital Light Bank, as 10% of the future flows will be still referred to Intesa. And also because the future NPL platform will be used by Intesa to liaise with its interlocutors. Gilli concludes: “the unit will be redesigned, but the mission will be the same”.

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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