Italy names new chief at bad loan manager Amco

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Treasury has named Andrea Munari, the former head of French bank BNP Paribas’ Italian arm, as the new head of state-owned bad loan manager Amco, it said on Tuesday.

Munari will replace Marina Natale, a veteran UniCredit executive under whose leadership Amco has grown loans under management to 36.4 billion euros ($39.7 billion), with collections up 12% annually in 2022 to 1.5 billion euros.

The appointment is the latest move by the conservative administration of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to name new chiefs at a slate of state-owned companies.

The Treasury also replaced Amco Chair Stefano Cappiello, the official currently in charge of financial regulation at the ministry, with a former Treasury official, Giuseppe Maresca, who retired a few years ago.

After the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, Italy failed to use public money to clean up its banks, like Ireland or Spain did, before restrictive European Union rules kicked in to curb state aid to banks.

With its hands tied by the new EU rules, Italy has relied on Amco and devised a scheme of state guarantees to help the bank shed bad debts.

Amco has played a key role in all of Italy’s main banking crises in recent years, taking part in rescue deals to rid ailing lenders of bad debts.

However, to comply with EU rules requiring it to be a regular market player, Amco has also taken part in tenders, bidding against, and often prevailing, over other privately funded bad loan managers.

One such competitor is doValue, Italy’s biggest debt recovery firm, whose chief executive left in April.

Natale is widely seen as a potential candidate to take on the CEO role now held on an interim basis by doValue CFO Manuela Franchi. DoValue declined to comment.

($1 = 0.9163 euros)

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Valentina Za; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)