Intesa Sanpaolo chairman sees limited impact from Italy windfall tax

CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) – The chairman of Intesa Sanpaolo sees no cause for alarm over the impact of the windfall tax on Italian banks and said it would probably cost Italy’s biggest bank less than 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion).

“There will be an effect but I don’t think it will have alarming consequences because Italian banks are robust and the important thing is that the market is competitive,” Gian Maria Gros-Pietro told reporters at the European House Ambrosetti business forum in Italy on Friday.

Gros-Pietro later told reporters that the bill was likely to be under a billion euros for Intesa, adding that a more precise estimate could not be given until the windfall tax has been approved by parliament.

The windfall tax, which wrongfooted bank investors when announced in August, is a one-off measure targeting gains from higher interest rates. The government subsequently clarified that the tax would not amount to more than 0.1% of a bank’s total assets.

The Treasury expects to draw less than 3 billion euros from the measure, sources have said.

Gros-Pietro said dividends would inevitably be affected by any impact of the tax on profit but that Intesa investors would still be well rewarded.

($1 = 0.9252 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Giulio Piovaccari, writing by Keith Weir, editing by Alvise Armellini and Louise Heavens)