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Bankia, BMN merger cleared; Banco BPM completes deal; Italy heads for elections


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Bankia, BMN merger cleared; Banco BPM completes deal; Italy heads for elections


* Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Ltd. completed the sale of a 49% stake in its U.K. general insurance businesses to Allianz Group for a total consideration of £500 million. The deal is the first stage in the creation of their joint venture and strategic partnership.


* Werner Steinmüller, Deutsche Bank AG CEO for Asia-Pacific, told The Edge Financial Daily that his aim is to increase the revenue share of his segment to 20% of the bank's total global revenue over the next few years, up from 14% in 2016. To that end, he seeks to expand the commercial and investment banking business in Australia and China and intensify business with multinational companies and large, local corporates all over the region.

* In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Allianz Group CEO Oliver Bäte was highly critical of the German government's economic strategy, questioning Germany's role as a global industry leader in about 10 years from now if the government keeps creating ever more regulation rather than competition.

* Swiss Re AG CEO Christian Mumenthaler called on global governments to assist the insurance industry in tackling the growing number of threats from cyberattacks, in an interview with the Financial Times.

* KfW appointed deputy CEO Günther Bräunig as the new CEO of the group, effective Jan. 1, 2018. He succeeds current CEO Ulrich Schröder, who is stepping down for health reasons.


* Dutch insurer Aegon NV said it would boost its solvency ratio by divesting a block of its life reinsurance business in Transamerica Reinsurance to French reinsurer Scor SE Het Financieele Dagblad reported. The Dutch company's Transamerica life subsidiaries will reinsure about $750 million of liabilities to Scor, which covers about half of the life reinsurance business that Transamerica retained after it divested the majority of its life reinsurance business to Scor in 2011.

* ABN AMRO Group NV may sell off its shipping and energy finance activities as well as ABN Amro Clearing as the Dutch lender prepares itself for new European capital requirements that come into effect in 2018, Het Financieele Dagblad reported.

* Jeroen Piqueur, the founder and former CEO of troubled Optima Bank NV, and his son Ruben have been released from prison, De Tijd reported. The pair had been arrested earlier this month in connection with the 2016 demise of the Belgian bank.

* Eurazeo SA said it is in exclusive discussions for the acquisition of private equity firm Idinvest Partners, Reuters reported. Eurazeo will hold about 70% of the capital of the firm.

* The special dispensation to allow French taxpayers to declare foreign accounts kept hidden from authorities will end on Dec. 31, after recuperating nearly €8 billion in penalties and bringing to light over €32 billion in assets since it was put in place in 2013, Le Figaro reported. The government has now boosted its intelligence units to track fraudsters.


* Bankia SA was authorized by the European Central Bank to merge with Banco Mare Nostrum SA, Expansión reported, citing sources close to the matter. With the authorization, Bankia has overcome the final administrative hurdle to go ahead with the merger. The state restructuring fund FROB will hold a 60% stake in the resulting institution, and BMN will cease to exist Jan. 2, 2018. Its Chairman of the Board Carlos Egea will be the bank's only representative to sit on the board of directors of the merged entity.

* Bankia is planning to close one hundred more offices in 2018 than announced earlier this month, following its planned merger with Banco Mare Nostrum, Expansión wrote. That takes the total number of offices it plans to close next year to 147. The bank is aiming to reduce its workforce by 2,510 employees.

* Portugal's government formally approved Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA's plans to sell its operations in Spain, Brazil and South Africa as part of a restructuring plan aimed at boosting profits at the state-owned bank, Jornal de Negócios and Dinheiro Vivo reported.

* Portugal's government will provide €145 million in financing to a credit recovery fund established earlier this year to compensate former customers of failed lender Banco Espírito Santo SA, Jornal Económico reported, citing a source at the finance ministry. The loan to Patris, the asset management company chosen to manage the credit recovery fund, was justified in order to pay the first installment of compensation more quickly than had been anticipated. Under the original plan, banks had been due to grant financing to the vehicle.


* Italian President Sergio Mattarella signed a decree dissolving parliament, Reuters reported, a move that will trigger national elections in March. Polls suggest a vote is likely to lead to a hung parliament, according to Bloomberg News.

* Banco BPM SpA yesterday completed the 100% share capital disposal of Aletti Gestielle SGR SpA to Anima Holding SpA for a consideration of €700 million, following the fulfillment of certain conditions to the deal.

* Iccrea Holding SpA is taking control of Banca Mediocredito del Friuli Venezia Giulia SpA through a €100 million capital increase that will allow the local region to reduce its stake in the institution to below 50%, MF reported. Il Sole 24 Ore also covered.

* Credito Valtellinese SpA aims to conclude its €700 million capital strengthening before the Italian elections on March 4, 2018, with the start date of the capital hike being brought forward to Feb. 5, 2018, Il Messaggero reported.


* The Swedish FSA is considering asking the government to increase the penalties for financial market crimes, Dagens Industri reported. The regulator has been criticized for giving financial institutions fines that are high compared with the fines given by courts for criminal acts.


Asia-Pacific: Nomura eyes China retail brokerage biz, to boost US ops; Sri Lanka holds rates

Middle East & Africa: Liberia gets new president; Rwanda cuts rate; Saudi-Sudan banking ties restored

Latin America: Cade recommends approval of Itaú-XP deal; Argentina passes tax reform

North America: FINRA fines JP Morgan Securities $2.8M; Atlantic Capital selling trust biz

North America Insurance: Aegon to reinsure US life block; activist investor opposes Humana/Kindred deal


Stop 'gold-plating' EU rules, bank chief tells Romanian government: The CEO of Raiffeisen Bank Romania reportedly said the costs for recent regulations will be passed on to consumers, thereby preventing financial inclusion.

David Hutter, Arno Maierbrugger, Danielle Rossingh, Esben Svendsen, Yael Schrage, Brian McCulloch, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

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