BPM, Banco Popolare merger deal ready

Would create Italy's third-largest lender

(ANSA) - Milan, February 10 - A deal has been negotiated to merge Banco Popolare di Milano (BPM) and Verona-based Banco Popolare banks, ANSA learned Wednesday. Executives from both lenders have gone to the Bank of Italy and to the European Central Bank for approval. The boards of both banks will meet to vote on the deal at the weekend, pending approval by both central banks. Under terms of the merger, BPM would be 100% controlled by a new holding company for about three years. The deal would create Italy's third-largest lender after Intesa and UniCredit, worth 172 billion euros and with 2,484 branches. On Tuesday, Banco Popolare reported it closed out the 2015 financial year with net profits of 430 million euros and proposed dividends of 15 eurocents a share.
    The lender also reported it cut its non-performing loans by 200 million euros in the past year, to 14.1 billion euros.
    Banco Popolare shares on Wednesday added 11% to close at 7 euros a share, while BPM rose 9.45% to close at 0.60 euros a share.


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