Carige Said to Draw Ponti Bids From Banks Including Popolare

Banca Carige SpA plans to allow four potential bidders, including a unit of Banco Popolare SC, to review the financial data of its Banca Cesare Ponti private-banking unit, said two people with knowledge of the talks.

Banca Finnat Euramerica SpA, Ersel and Bankinter SA will also be admitted to the data room, and the review of the business’s books should start by the end of March, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

Carige, one of the two Italian lenders that need to plug a capital shortfall after the European Central Bank’s balance-sheet review, is selling assets and stock to fill the gap. Carige, which showed a shortfall of about 810 million euros ($858 million), expects the ECB’s decision on its capital plan this week, Chairman Cesare Castelbarco Albani said in an interview in Cernobbio, Italy, on Saturday.

Cesare Ponti held 1.16 billion euros of assets under management at the end of 2013. The unit posted a 1.6 million-euro profit in the first nine months of 2014, according to a report on Carige’s website.

The bank may keep Ponti if offers for the business aren’t adequate, MF reported Tuesday. The bank may also increase the size of its planned share sale to 800 million euros from 700 million euros, the Italian newspaper also reported.

Italy’s Banca Finnat is a Rome-based bank offering private banking and advisory services, while Ersel, based in Turin, is owned by the Giubergia family and operates in wealth and asset management.

Spokesmen for Carige, Banca Finnat, Ersel and Spain’s Bankinter, a lender and insurer, declined to comment. A Banco Popolare’s spokesman also declined to comment on the interest by its Banca Aletti division, the lender’s private and investment banking unit.

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