Credit Agricole's Italian takeover target Creval says will consider all options

FILE PHOTO: A Credit Agricole logo is seen outside a bank office in Vertou near Nantes, France, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

MILAN (Reuters) – The board of Credito Valtellinese (Creval) said on Thursday it would seek to create value for its shareholders by looking at all strategic options, as it prepares to give an opinion on the takeover bid launched by Credit Agricole.

The Italian division of France’s Credit Agricole in November offered 10.50 euro a share to buy the third-tier Italian lender for an overall investment of 737 million euros ($895 million).

Referring to comments made by its advisers on the offer, Creval listed an additional tax benefit of around 350 million euros that Credit Agricole Italy would reap as a result of a potential merger with the Italian bank that only materialised after the offer was announced.

Italy last month approved measures to spur banking consolidation that allow lenders merging this year to lower their tax burden by turning so-called deferred tax assets (DTAs) into tax credits.

Creval had already said Credit Agricole’s offer was neither expected nor agreed and sources have said that the Italian bank was preparing to do battle to get shareholders a higher bid. Under Italian rules, the bank can express its view on the offer only after the publication of the official offer document.

Several shareholders, including asset manager Kairos and investment fund Hosking Partners, have already said the offer was too low.

“The board … will continue to work with the aim of pursuing value creation for all Creval’s shareholders, without neglecting any strategic option and emphasising the results achieved by the bank,” the lender said. ($1 = 0.8233 euros)

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