What will happen to Mediobanca after the release of Unicredit? And what are Del Vecchio's real plans for Generali? "Question and answer with Cingolani": the economic and financial facts analyzed and commented by the editorialist and essayist, Stefano Cingolani, in a conversation with the director of Start, Michele Arnese
Why did Unicredit say goodbye to Mediobanca? A historical novelty. Mustier said he wanted to change the pact (to nurture the powers of Nagel?) But the partners didn't follow him. But he also said: "Mediobanca is not a strategic asset, we are competitors". What is the truth?
Mustier plans to fully transform Unicredit into a European bank. He wanted a marriage with SocGen and did not go to port, he had his eye on Commerzbank. He wants to create a German branch in which to combine HVB and Bank of Austria. His project is a Unicredit holding company that controls the various credit companies in Italy, in Central Europe, etc .; to do this, Unicredit must strengthen its own capital, hence the sale of assets that have been highly criticized, from Fineco to Pioneer and the search for a good partner to merge with. But we must contextualize everything in a European context.
The banking union is approaching, we will see how and if indeed Italian banks will be penalized. But today, like today, Italian banks are even less efficient and are too full of Italian government bonds. What appears to be a choice of system (and of national interest) risks going against the interests of shareholders, savers and depositors. If so, Mediobanca is not really strategic. Is it General?
One moment, we get to Generali. We are on Piazzetta Cuccia. What will happen now in Mediobanca? Is a billionaire entrepreneur through a Luxembourg company really the dominus of the institution? Bank of Italy and ECB will raise it to 20%? Of course the criticisms of Nagel for the non-merchant bank results that are based on Generali's and Compass's holdings, however, are significant …
It is true, Mediobanca is still too dependent on Generali, and should expand its business as a business bank. But is there enough business in Italy? Meanwhile, competition has increased and Piazzetta Cuccia with all respect is still a local reality, not a global one, that moves in a narrow triangle between Milan, Paris and London (Brexit permitting), has before it realities like those of the Rothschilds, the American giants, the real big deals that are made along the Pacific coasts. Cuccia died nearly twenty years ago, his creature changes skin, there are no longer large families to protect against the intrusive and invading state, the best of Italian capitalism is the one that has become internationalized. Nagel doesn't have an easy task, without the Generali could he hold up?
"Alberto Nagel is bringing excellent results, capitalization is growing and this is the real defense for Mediobanca and indirectly for Generali," said Carlo Messina, Intesa Sanpaolo's number one. Meanwhile, critics of Del Vecchio and Mustier (in M5s and Lega) accuse them of working for the French in finance and therefore to give Generali to foreigners. Del Vecchio says he wants to protect the Italian character of Mediobanca (for decades crammed with French) and Generali (also led by a Frenchman). Help me to understand…
I believe that Italianness is a false problem. Messina is right: Generali defends itself by becoming stronger. But how? Alone? Or with whom? Even Generali must increase its own capital and increase its value on the stock exchange. Despite being well managed so much that it has increased its profits more than its competitors, it has a stock market value that is about one third compared to Allianz and less than half compared to the others. It must develop for internal and external lines in Italy but above all abroad. Who can sustain this growth? Are Italian partners with or without Mediobanca? Is it Del Vecchio? I doubt it.
But what does Del Vecchio really want?
Fixed his creature Luxottica, in the hands of the French also because it is Essilor to own the core business, that is lens technology, he wants to leave a footprint like the man who shook the sleeping beauty of Italian finance. I don't see him as a raider but not even as a Warren Buffett. I think his most strategic idea is the city of health around Ieo. Here indeed Italy could play a big role if there were investors willing to believe it. It is a pity that it did not take off. Till now. Italy is rich (and rich in riches) and liquid, but Italians still do not invest in any long-term project because of risk aversion (in the spirit of entrepreneurship). Del Vecchio, instead of wanting to make the new Cuccia, should set an example for those who believe in a new development cycle.
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