• Sale said to involve portfolio of soured consumer loans
  • Bank said to have sold more than 10 billion euros in bad debts

UniCredit SpA agreed to sell about 400 million euros ($455 million) of non-performing Italian consumer loans to AnaCap Financial Partners LLP, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The package includes small unsecured loans to individuals, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the transaction is not yet public. The Milan-based bank may announce the sale as soon as next week, one of the people said.

European regulators are stepping up pressure on Italian lenders to clean up their balance sheets, strengthen capital buffers and cut an estimated 360 billion euros in non-performing loans as the economy struggles to recover from a recession. Italian officials and bank executives are discussing setting up a fund that would help companies tackle their bad debt and buy shares in recapitalizations, people familiar have said.

UniCredit has sold more than 10 billion euros of bad loans in the past three years and is targeting annual disposals of at least 2 billion euros, the people said. Italy’s largest lender sold 1.2 billion euros of non-performing Italian corporate and consumer loans to AnaCap in September.

Spokesmen for UniCredit and AnaCap declined to comment.

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