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Mon 9 Apr 2012 10:21 AM

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Italy’s largest bank to set up in Abu Dhabi

Intesa Sanpaolo expands its presence in UAE after last year's Dubai launch

Italy’s largest bank to set up in Abu Dhabi
Intesa Sanpaolo opened a branch in Dubai last year.

Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's biggest
retail bank, is to open a representative office in Abu Dhabi, as the
loss-making lender looks to overseas markets for growth.

Intesa Sanpaolo opened a branch
in Dubai last year and the UAE will be its fourth overseas hubs for corporate
and investment banking.

The move overseas comes as the
bank posted a fourth-quarter net loss because of a
€10.2bn (US$13.3bn) writedown of goodwill related to mergers and acquisitions.

The net loss was
€10.1bn, compared with net income of 505 million euros a year earlier. Excluding
one-time items, the quarterly profit was
€265m, the Milan-based
lender said in a statement. Analysts expected profit of
€633m,
according to the average of 10 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The bank cut
its dividend by 3 cents to 5 cents per share.

Enrico Tommaso Cucchiani was
named as chief executive officer in November to replace Corrado Passera and is
working on a business plan review to take into account negative market
development and recession in Italy. Intesa is shedding jobs and reducing costs
to strengthen finances as part of its five-year business plan.

“Intesa’s operating performance,
net of 2011 non-recurring items, is expected to remain broadly stable,” the
bank said in the statement. In the first quarter of the year operating profit
may record a double-digit growth, Cucchiani said.

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