Banca Ifis rescues Italian casualty of Greensill collapse

MILAN (Reuters) -Italy’s Banca Ifis has bought the healthy assets of Aigis Banca for 1 euro ($1.22) after Aigis was forced into liquidation by the insolvency of Germany’s Greensill Bank.

German financial services regulator BaFin in March shut down Greensill Bank AG, which was part of Greensill Capital, the collapsed London-based supply-chain finance group owned by Australian financier Lex Greensill.

“The intervention of Banca Ifis will protect the savings of retail customers, guarantee continuity of finance to businesses and safeguard jobs,” Banca Ifis Chief Executive Frederik Geertman said in a statement.

Milan-based Aigis was established only last December as a specialist lender for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a staff of 50 and three branches spread among Italy’s financial capital, Rome and the southern town of Bari.

At the behest of Italy’s central bank, the Treasury on Sunday ordered Aigis to be put into liquidation, while transferring part of its business to Ifis, which also specialises in SME lending, as well as bad loan management.

Aigis is the first Italian casualty of Greensill’s demise, which also hit clients of Swiss bank Credit Suisse as well as steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance and around two dozen German towns.

Among assets being taken on by Venice-based Ifis, which is owned by Italy’s von Fuerstenberg family, are 300 million euros in loans to SMEs backed by a state guarantee and 440 million euros in retail customer deposits.

Italy’s depositor protection fund FITD is taking part in the rescue and will provide 49 million euros that Ifis said would help to ensure there is virtually no impact from the acquisition on its core capital, earnings and asset quality.

Securities related to Greensill Bank AG, tax assets and a subordinate loan issued by Aigis are not part of the acquisition, Ifis said.

The transaction boosts Ifis’ assets by 5%, adding 100 million euros in terms of risk-weighted assets.

Shares in Ifis closed up 1.9% outperforming a 0.2% rise in Italy’s banking shares.

($1 = 0.8211 euros)

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