Generali CEO denies idea of merger with UniCredit

Chief dismisses rumour as speculation of journalists

Generali CEO denies idea of merger with UniCredit

Mergers & Acquisitions

By Jen Frost

Generali CEO Philippe Donnet has dismissed the idea of a merger with lender Unicredit and attempted to swat away press rumours that French firms are looking to take over the Italian insurer.

"There is no plan for a merger with UniCredit, it is not part of our strategy, because it does not make sense," Reuters reported Philippe Donnet told a parliamentary hearing.

UniCredit CEO Andrea Orcel had batted away speculation that the bank was interested in the insurer in December.

Donnet told the hearing that there are “no synergies” between banking and insurance business.

A merger “would weaken both,” he said.

The Generali boss joined the insurer nine years ago, having previously held positions at French insurance business Axa between 1985 and 2007.

This prompted speculation at the time that his Generali move could be linked to a possible merger with Axa or another French company, Reuters said.

"I am French but I am also Italian. I arrived nine years ago to lead Generali Italia and since then I read in the Italian press this story about French companies," said Donnet, who was named group CEO in 2016.

"There is no interest of any French company, it is a fantasy of journalists," Donnet said.

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