By Mauro Orru 

Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo is acquiring Romania's First Bank from U.S.-based private investment fund J.C. Flowers & Co. in a deal that is expected to double its presence in the Eastern European country.

The lender, Italy's largest by assets, said Monday that it had signed an agreement to buy 99.98% of shares that J.C. Flowers owns in First Bank for an undisclosed amount. However, it said First Bank's assets are worth around 1.5 billion euros ($1.58 billion).

"This operation doubles our presence in Romania, a high-growth country with strong ties to Italy, and fits well with our strategy to capture value-driven opportunities while maintaining our focus on organic growth, aimed at driving profitability," said Marco Elio Rottigni, chief of Intesa's international subsidiary banks division.

First Bank counts 40 branches in Romania, where it serves small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as retail customers. Intesa serves around 60,000 customers in Romania through 34 branches.

The bank expects to close the deal by the first quarter of 2024.


Write to Mauro Orru at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 30, 2023 12:24 ET (16:24 GMT)

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