Allianz, Intesa Sanpaolo Interested in Generali, Stampa Reports

Allianz SE, Europe’s largest insurer, and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA are interested in Assicurazioni Generali SpA, Italian newspaper La Stampa reported Sunday, without citing anyone.

Intesa is studying a “possible operation” with regard to the Italian insurer, La Stampa reported, without giving any further details.

A spokesman for Intesa said the bank doesn’t comment on market speculation, when contacted by Bloomberg News. A spokeswoman for Allianz also declined to comment.

Like other European insurers, Generali is struggling to boost profitability as investment returns fall and competition puts pressure on prices. Philippe Donnet, who became chief executive officer in March, is cutting costs and focusing on cash generation and the company’s retail business to improve returns.

Assicurazioni Generali’s board may meet in the next few days to replace Chief Financial Officer Alberto Minali, Il Sole 24 Ore reported separately on its website Sunday, adding that negotiations for his exit have already started. A spokesman for Generali declined to comment on both press reports.

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