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Allianz, Crédit Agricole post Q1 profits; SIX Group, Worldline in €2B deal

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Allianz, Crédit Agricole post Q1 profits; SIX Group, Worldline in €2B deal

* The European Central Bank will likely give before year-end further guidance on when it expects to raise interest rates, French central bank Governor François Villeroy de Galhau said.

* Noting that cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, ECB board member Yves Mersch called on banks to segregate any activities involving virtual currencies from their other trading and investment operations and post "adequate levels of capital" against it, Reuters wrote.

* The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority has launched its fourth stress test of the European insurance sector.

* Swiss financial services firm SIX Group AG is selling its payment service unit to French rival Worldline SA for a total consideration of €2.30 billion, comprising 49.1 million newly issued Wordline shares and a cash consideration of roughly €283 million. SIX will own 27% of Worldline as a result of the transaction.

* UniCredit SpA has refused to respond to further demands from London-based hedge fund Caius Capital LLP that it clarify the terms under which it treats the proceeds of a convertible bond issue as equity.

UK AND IRELAND

* UK Government Investments, the body that manages the British government's holdings of corporate assets and their sales, began contacting investment banks last week to gauge interest in a potential sale of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC shares, The Times reported. The approach came only days after RBS agreed a $4.9 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over the alleged misselling of U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities.

* British Business Bank PLC subsidiary British Business Investments launched a £500 million funding program that aims to increase access to long-term venture and growth capital for the U.K.'s high-growth businesses and high-potential companies.

* Michael Cole-Fontayn, chairman of the London-based Association for Financial Markets in Europe, told Reuters that the group — unlike other industry bodies in the U.K. — has not formally backed a "mutual recognition" plan for access to EU financial markets after Brexit. He indicated that there was an openness among the association's members to build on equivalence.

* Embattled TSB Banking Group PLC declined an offer of assistance from former parent Lloyds Banking Group PLC on the morning of April 23, hours after customers began experiencing technological problems with the bank's new IT system, insiders told the Financial Times.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Allianz Group reported first-quarter net income attributable to shareholders of €1.94 billion, up from €1.82 billion a year ago. The company said the increase was driven by a higher nonoperating investment result, a decrease in restructuring charges and a lower effective tax rate.

* Commerzbank AG reported consolidated first-quarter profit attributable to shareholders of €250 million, up from €229 million a year earlier.

* Giles Edwards, a ratings analyst at S&P Global Ratings, told Reuters that the chances of downgrading Deutsche Bank AG's ratings were "at least 50%," with the agency waiting for details on the lender's future strategy.

* Deutsche Bank reduced the number of members of the executive committee of its private and corporate client business to 16 from 24, Handelsblatt noted.

* Deutsche Bank acquired Indian fintech Quantiguous Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a firm specialized on smart software interfaces between different banking applications, Handelsblatt reported.

* Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG reported first-quarter consolidated net profit attributable to shareholders of the company of €57.4 million, compared to €69.5 million a year ago.

* Raiffeisen Bank International AG's first-quarter consolidated profit rose to €399 million from €220 million in the same period in 2017.

* Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale launched a venture capital company for digital startups called Helaba Digital GmbH & Co. KG.

* Ulrich Hoffmann is resigning as head of group operations at UBS Group AG and will be replaced by Christopher Gelvin on July 1, Finews reported.

* UBS Group AG CEO Sergio Ermotti told Basler Zeitung that the bank plans to deploy 700 robots by the end of the year, mainly for tasks in the back office.

FRANCE AND BENELUX

* Crédit Agricole Group reported first-quarter net income group share of €1.43 billion, down from €1.60 billion in the same period in 2017. Crédit Agricole SA, meanwhile, posted a year-over-year increase in first-quarter net income group share to €856 million from €845 million.

* Axa completed the IPO of U.S. subsidiary AXA Equitable Holdings Inc. and declared that the financing needed for the acquisition of XL Group Ltd. is now secured. The French insurer booked overall proceeds of $4.02 billion from transactions involving AXA Equitable shares.

* Euronext NV reported first-quarter profit of €57.3 million, up from €43.9 million a year ago.

* Saxo Banque France has launched a new professional trading platform in France for active traders and institutional clients, L'Agefi reported. The platform will replace the current SaxoTrader platform.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

* Spain's CaixaBank SA said it has further increased its stake in Portugal's Banco BPI SA to almost 94% after a series of ordinary share purchases between May 8 and May 11, Jornal de Negócios and Jornal Económico reported.

* Portugal's Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA is making gradual progress on its 2020 strategic plan, with a first-quarter profit of €68 million highlighting improvements at the state-run lender, according to Moody's, Jornal de Negócios reported. The ratings agency noted the decline in the bank's bad loan ratio from to 11.4% from 12% at 2017-end, adding that the bank should meet a target to reduce the ratio to a single digit by year-end.

* DBRS said risks to financial stability in Portugal are gradually fading, as high levels of corporate debt and nonperforming loans in the country have declined, while the Portuguese banking sector is in a better position, compared to several years of underperformance.

* Portugal's ASF insurance industry regulator has halted the planned sale of a controlling 60% stake in Montepio Seguros SGPS SA to China's CEFC China Energy, Jornal de Negócios and Jornal Económico reported. Meanwhile, Público reported that the ASF has ordered Montepio Seguros to inject €30 million into Lusitânia Seguros in 2017 to bring its capital ratios in line with regulatory standards.

ITALY AND GREECE

* Banco BPM SpA has begun the selection of advisers for its new Ace project that entails the sale of €3.5 billion of nonperforming loans, MF reported, noting that the lender could also decide to sell a part of its NPL management platform.

* Cerberus has obtained the exclusivity to negotiate the purchase of €2 billion of NPLs of the former Delta group, which is now under liquidation, MF reported.

* Francesco Canzonieri was named co-head of corporate and investment banking at Mediobanca - Banca di Credito Finanziario SpA, replacing Stefano Marsaglia, MF wrote.

* Cerved's €52.6 million purchase of Monte dei Paschi's Juliet NPL recovery platform has been completed and the platform will service at least 80% of new NPL inflows generated by the lender over the next 10 years, Reuters wrote.

* Italy-based Ambienta SGR S.p.A. closed its third private equity fund focused on environmental investing at €635 million, surpassing its original €500 million target after less than three months of active marketing.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Once the merger between Ringkjøbing Landbobank A/S and Nordjyske Bank A/S is finalized, Nykredit A/S plans to sell parts of its stake in the merged bank to pension fund ATP, Børsen reported. Nykredit and ATP will each own between 5% and 10 % of the new bank.

* Danish pension fund PFA is reducing its investments in real estate in Denmark in favor of investments abroad, Ejendomswatch reported. As its first deal, PFA is selling 10% of its business real estate in Copenhagen worth 2 billion Danish kroner to Bankinvest.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The Russian central bank became the owner of 99.9% stakes in JSC Rost Bank and National Bank Trust PJSC, having purchased additional shares in the lenders worth 350 million Russian rubles and 300 million rubles, respectively, the regulator said. The two lenders were bailed out by the central bank in 2017.

* Concern Rossium, through which Russian businessman Roman Avdeev owns his stake in PAO Credit Bank of Moscow, is interested in acquiring OJSC State Insurance Co. Yugoria, Vedomosti reported. A tender for the acquisition of Yugoria, organized by its owner, Russia's Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region, will be held May 30.

* Russian state corporation Roscosmos was selected by the central bank as a new investor to oversee the financial recovery of JSC FUNDSERVICEBANK, replacing Novikombank in this role, Vedomosti wrote.

* Otkritie Financial Corp. Bank increased its stake in Russian company Promfinance from 19.9% to 100%, making it the controlling owner of payment system operator Tamozhennaya Karta, news agency Prime reported. Promfinance owns a 67.81% stake in Tamozhennaya Karta.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: JPMorgan Chase names new China CEO; AMP to face more lawsuits

Middle East & Africa: Qatar's FX manipulation probe intensifies; ex-Moza Banco execs fined

Latin America: Fitch revises outlook on 6 Argentine firms; country's banks bear brunt of crisis

North America: Goldman Sachs picks Germany for expansion; Cadence to buy State Bank Financial

North America Insurance: Commercial P&C rates rise for 2nd consecutive quarter; TWIA launching cat bond

NOW FEATURED ON S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCE

Data Dispatch EMEA: Investment banks post mixed Q1 revenues amid 'short-lived' volatility spike: A spurt of capital market volatility in early 2018 boosted equity trading revenue at most global investment banks but European firms remained on the back foot over the longer term.

Weak Q1 figures cast doubt on Deutsche's ability to repair broken revenue engine: One analyst described the German group's first-quarter earnings as "shocking" while others doubted management's ability to cut costs by €800 million while still maintaining staff morale.

ABN Amro shares plummet on vague capital management update, high impairments: "Challenging market conditions" in the shipping, healthcare and diamonds and jewelry sectors "will likely require some additional impairments in the coming quarters," Chief Risk Officer Tanja Cuppen told analysts during an earnings call.

Sheryl Obejera, Arno Maierbrugger, Meike Wijers, Esben Svendsen, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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