Intesa Sees Investment Bank Growth as It Targets Foreign Clients

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Italy’s second-biggest bank, forecast a rebound in revenue at its investment-banking unit through targeting financial services and foreign clients.

Intesa expects annual revenue growth of 6 percent at its Banca IMI SpA unit through 2017, when sales should reach 1.6 billion euros ($2.2 billion), the company said today. Banca IMI is beefing up its London hub for servicing “selected” international customers and boosting its advisory offerings to Italian and foreign lenders and asset managers.

Intesa Sanpaolo, which posted a 5.19 billion-euro fourth-quarter loss, is seeking higher fee and commission income across the bank. The Milan-based bank is combining asset management and private banking units to cut costs and expand sales as Chief Executive Officer Carlo Messina targets to pay 10 billion euros of cash dividends in the next four years.

As part of the strategic review, Banca IMI, which focuses on Italian customers, is seeking to be a market leader in underwriting securities sales, advising on mergers and project and structured finance, the company said.

Banca IMI posted a 12 percent decline in revenue last year on sluggish securities sales. Intesa joined bigger competitor BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, in forecasting a rebound in investment banking. BNP Paribas on March 24 said it’s targeting annual revenue growth of more than 6 percent at the division through 2016, from 8.7 billion euros last year, the lowest since 2008.

Banca IMI competes with BNP Paribas, which owns Italy’s BNL Italian branch network, as well as with UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest bank, and Mediobanca SpA, the nation’s largest independent investment bank.

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