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Credit Agricole offers to buy Italy’s bank Carige

France’s Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA) has offered to buy troubled lender Banca Carige (CRGI.MI) for a euro, Italian daily Il Messaggero said on Thursday, sending shares in the Italian lender up more than 3%.

The French bank has asked for a capital injection of 700 million euros ($790 million) in the loss-making bank before the acquisition, the newspaper said.

A spokesperson for Credit Agricole Italia declined to comment.

Shares in Carige were up 3.53% at 0910 GMT in an overall negative Milan bourse on the media report.

Earlier this year Credit Agricole sealed a 1 billion takeover bid for small Italian regional lender Creval.

After the Creval deal, the French lender controls 5% of the Italian market and ranks as the country’s sixth-largest bank, with two-thirds of branches concentrated in the industrial north.

Carige has been focused on the local economy of the maritime Liguria region and its purchase would allow Credit Agricole to expand further in the north.

Italian depositor protection fund FITD, funded by contributions from banks, owns an 80% stake in Carige after it bailed it out in 2019 and it has been looking for potential suitors. Cassa Centrale Banca holds 8.3%.

Italy’s BPER Banca (EMII.MI) last year made a takeover proposal to FITD for the controlling stake it holds in Carige, contingent on the fund first pumping one billion euros into the bank.

However, the Italian banks which are FITD’s stakeholders rejected that offer, saying the fund could not meet BPER’s capital demands as it was not allowed to inject more than 600-700 million euros into Carige. read more

BPER said at the end of last year it was ready to hold in-depth discussions with FITD about the acquisition of Carige.

($1 = 0.8860 euros)

Reporting by Francesca Landini and Stefano Bernabei; editing by Kim Coghill, Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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