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BANK

Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo reports profit surge

Italy's second largest bank Intesa Sanpaolo on Thursday reported better-than-expected net profits of €503 million in the first quarter, up nearly two thirds from a year earlier.

Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo reports profit surge
Photo: Oliver Morin/AFP

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted a profit well below the 64.4 percent increase of €363 million.

Income before tax from continuing operations rose 22.5 percent to €953 million despite the lender's "rigorous and conservative" provisioning policy.

The result marks a huge turnaround from 2013, when Intesa Sanpaolo reported a net loss of €4.55 billion after huge asset writedowns.

In 2014 "profitability targets will be combined with close attention to the profile of risk and liquidity, as well as with the group's excellent capital position," the bank said in its earnings statement.

Net interest income for the quarter came to €2.1 billion, a 4.1-percent increase from €2.02 billion before.

The bank operating margin was down slightly at €2.02 billion – 0.1 percent lower than in 2013.

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ITALY

Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.


Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?

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