Italian bank Banca IFIS Group has posted a 324 percent profit rise to a record €688m, as sales of non-performing loans (NPLs) slowly build momentum in Italy.
Banca IFIS Group’s preliminary results show profits were boosted by its acquisition of the former merchant bank and SME lender Interbanca Group, which contributed about €623.6m to the result.
This amount represented what Banca IFIS called a “gain on bargain purchase” that, at the end of the purchase price allocation in line with international accounting standards, was recognised through profit or loss.
Soon after the acquisition, Banca IFIS closed a series of structured finance deals to fund businesses across Italy.
Banca IFIS chief executive Giovanni Bossi said the acquisition helped the group complete its range of services for SMEs, but added that the bank continues to “increasingly focus on the non-performing loans sector, where the bank is committed to continue growing.”
The NPL area of the group, which trades in NPL portfolios, reported steady growth with €44.5m in gains on the sale of residual portfolios during the past year.
One of the group’s most recent NPL purchases was in January, a portfolio with a nominal value of more than €1bn from a primary Italian bank. It comprised about 39,000 positions and around €650m of unsecured corporate assets. The remainder was made up of retail unsecured assets.
Andrea Clamer, head of Banca IFIS’s NPL division, said: “The majority of the loans we buy, analyse and manage belong to the unsecured retail segment, such as bank overdrafts or personal loans.
“Recently we have bought some micro-corporate portfolios, to which we add today the assets object of the actual transaction. The goal is to implement an operational management platform for corporate loans.”
This deal was one of others announced in the past month. This week AnaCap Financial Partners announced an agreement to acquire a portfolio of Italian performing and non-performing corporate secured loans from Barclays.
The specialist European financial services private equity firm said the portfolio, which has a gross book value of €177m, comprises loans to primarily small and mid-sized corporates secured against real estate, located mostly in the north of Italy.
The agreement follows AnaCap’s Credit Funds’ acquisition last year of three portfolios of unsecured and secured NPLs from GE, RBS and UniCredit, totalling close to €2.5bn.
Clamer will be speaking at Credit Strategy’s CDSP European NPL conference as part of Credit Week on March 29.
Last month, AnaCap Private Equity Funds also announced the signing of an agreement with Barclays to acquire its French retail banking operations, which would become the private equity fund’s sixth banking platform in Europe.
Jacqueline Li of AnaCap Financial Partners said the firm is providing solutions for vendors across Europe with “complex portfolios of performing and non-performing debt, which are highly varied in both asset type and servicing requirements.”