Bad loans project with KKR at advanced stage, says Intesa Sanpaolo CEO-Reuters

(Reuters) – Talks between Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit and U.S. private equity firm KKR to pool some problematic loans of the two Italian lenders are at an advanced stage and should conclude in the next few weeks, the Intesa Sanpaolo CEO said on Friday.

“The talks are at an advanced stage, we think we could finalise an agreement in the next few weeks,” Carlo Messina said on the sidelines of a Bank of Italy annual assembly.

In April, Italy’s top two banks UniCredit signed a deal with KKR to pool some of their problematic loans as the country’s lenders seek new ways to grapple with soured debts.

The two banks plan to set up a special vehicle to manage some restructured loans they are both owed by the same struggling businesses, hoping that combining the troubled debts along with outside expertise and capital could either make those debts more recoverable or easier to sell to third parties.