D-day for Crédit Agricole. It is this Tuesday that the offer of purchase of the mutualist group opens – via its transalpine subsidiary Crédit Agricole Italia – on Credito Valtellinese (Creval), the tenth bank of the country based in Sondrio, in Lombardy.
The offer runs until April 21 and was announced by Crédit Agricole last November, for a total price then estimated at 737 million euros. The group must obtain at least 66.67% of the capital of Creval for the takeover bid to be validated.
However, as anticipated in recent weeks (“Les Echos” of March 26), the board of directors of Creval has indeed formalized its reserve against the French banking giant, knowing that it is, in fine, the shareholders who will have to decide.
A merger between Creval and the Italian subsidiary of Crédit Agricole could certainly ” generate profit “, But the proposed price” is not financially appropriate “, Estimated the Italian bank in a statement released Monday.
Italian stock market law requires a target company to express itself officially on the offer, with Crédit Agricole in turn being able to respond.
Above the offer
Crédit Agricole Italia announced in November a price of 10.50 euros per share (valuing Creval at 737 million euros), the stock market price of Creval then hovering around 8.70 euros. The title quickly aligned with this price, and even exceeded it. This Tuesday, it was quoted at 12.26 euros, or 16% more than the price offered by the mutual giant.
In Crédit Agricole’s eyes, Italy represents its second domestic market after France. It is developing there in particular through targeted acquisitions of regional banking networks, mainly in the north of the Peninsula. The acquisition of Creval would allow it to consolidate its number seven position in the market.
I notice that there is no counter offer, so I am especially confident in the ultimate success of the process.
Xavier Musca Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Crédit Agricole SA
The group already holds 9.8% of the capital through its subsidiary Crédit Agricole Assurances. He has also secured an agreement with asset management company Algebris and will buy back its 5.38% stake in Creval, even if the French banking group’s plan to buy out its Italian counterpart fails.
In total, according to Crédit Agricole Italia, shareholders representing 17.68% of Creval’s capital have already agreed to tender their shares to the offer.
On the other hand, the group still had to face last week with a “front of no”, as baptized it the Italian press, which would gather around 20% of the capital, and expects a higher price. The British Petrus Advisers, which holds 3% of the capital, notably judged the offer ” insufficient “.
At the beginning of February, the Deputy CEO of Crédit Agricole SA, Xavier Musca, however, did not hide his optimism: “ I notice that there is no counter offer, so I am particularly confident in the final success of the process. », He had then indicated.
Beyond Crédit Agricole’s strategy, banks have started talking about marriage again in 2020, a particularly sensitive movement in Italy and Spain on domestic transactions. However, cross-border transactions (between European countries) remain at a standstill.