Poste Italiane sees 30pc profit growth

After a nearly 30% growth in its nine month operating profit, Poste Italiane has said that it could expand its asset management business and offer new investment products through its 13,000 branches.

Poste Italiane has found profitability through banking and insurance services even as its core focus of mail delivery has seen a sharp drop over the years.

60% owned by the State, it was nearly privatised a year ago but now focusing on asset management, parcel delivery and transaction banking to offset the fall in its core business, the postal operator is finding its feet again.

“Because we are a powerful distribution network, we may look at opportunities to grow in asset management,” CEO Francesco Caio told an analyst conference call, adding the group would take a disciplined approach to potential acquisitions.

CFO of Post Italiane Luigi Ferraris added that the group has room to fund acquisitions through debt given its €274 million net industrial financial surplus at the end of September. He also said that Poste Italiane had planned to extract value from its real estate assets that could give it more financial muscle next year as required.

Caio and Ferraris have not mention of any target but the group could present a binding offer to buy UniCredit’s asset manager Pioneer in a deal worth €3bn on this coming Thursday.

The state-controlled group is expected to table a bid for Pioneer together with Italian asset gatherer Anima Holding and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), sources have said.
Amundi, Europe’s biggest asset manager, U.S.-based Ameriprise Financial, Australia’s Macquarie and Scottish Aberdeen Asset Management are also expected to bid for Pioneer.

Poste Italiane said its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose in the first nine months of the year to 1.196 billion euros ($1.3 billion), boosted by continued growth of its insurance business and a capital gain from the sale of a stake in Visa Europe.
 
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