Deals and IPOs

Intesa Sanpaolo CEO opens the door to new deals, hopes to thrive in Europe

Key Points
  • Carlo Messina, chief executive officer at Intesa Sanpaolo told CNBC on Thursday that he is looking at potential new partners to scale up the business.
  • Messina wants to focus now on revamping the asset under management arm, under its Eurizon's business.
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One of the largest lenders in Italy is studying options to make new partnerships and improve its operations across Europe.

Carlo Messina, chief executive officer at Intesa Sanpaolo told CNBC on Thursday that he is looking at potential new partners to scale up the business, after last month closing a deal with debt collection company Intrum that involved a 10-year contract for the servicing of Intesa's bad-loan portfolio.

Messina wants to focus now on revamping the asset under management arm, under its Eurizon's business.

"If you want to play a role at the European level, you need to do something that can create a European leader," Messina told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"To create a European leader, my idea is that it is possible to find an agreement with a big global partner that can make a commercial or strategic agreement buying a minority stake of Eurizon and that can allow us to work with other counterparts in order to create a European champion," Messina added, without wanting to disclose any names of potential partners.

The Intesa Sanpaolo trademark on the facade of the headquarter of Intesa SanPaolo building in Turin.
Marco Bertorello | AFP | Getty Images

"If I were to be able to find a global partner and then a second step to find a counter party with whom it would be possible to create this new leader Europe, this could be something I consider very strategic."

Intesa Sanpaolo said Tuesday that it is well on-track to deliver this year a net income above the 3.8 billion euros ($4.51 billion) registered in 2017. Intesa Sanpaolo reported a net income of 1.25 million euros in the first quarter of the year, about 43 percent of its total net income last year.

As a result, Messina said the Italian lender will be able to pay a "generous dividend" this year.

Last October, Messina criticized Ray Dalio, from the hedge fund Bridgewater, for betting against his company. At the time, there were reports that Dalio's firm made a multi-million dollar bet against Intesa Sanpaolo, expecting the shares to come down in the short-term.

Messina told CNBC on Thursday that his firm is a good investment. "We are a good solution for investments in the long-term, so better to reduce the negative position to Intesa Sanpoaolo if you want to have an upside in the future."

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