Italy's Finance Executives Urge Public Investment: Assiom Update

(Bloomberg) -- Two days after Italy’s slide into a recession was confirmed, banking executives meeting in Rome called on the government to speed up investment in order to counter the risk of an economic slump.

On the sidelines of the annual Assiom Forex conference, where Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco typically holds his first public speech of the new year, chief executives and financial operators discussed the economy and business.

Key Developments

Cassa Depositi CEO Favors Single Telecom Network (4:50 p.m.)

Fabrizio Palermo, CEO of state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, says he is in favor of a single telecommunications network in the country and wishes the industry’s operators would cooperate in that sense.

Italy’s Rivera: Clarity on 2020 Goal May Be Needed (4:10 p.m.)

Treasury Director General Alessandro Rivera says that the government could take the opportunity of the next economic and financial document due in April to clarify how it intends to avoid an automatic increase of the value-added tax that would kick in next year under current legislation. While some government representatives repeatedly said that they want to avoid that increase, it would be useful to reassure investors and indicate which spending or tax measures will be used to do that, he added.

Banco BPM Expects New Plan by Year End: CEO (3:30 p.m.)

Banco BPM will approve a new business plan by the end of 2019, CEO Giuseppe Castagna said Saturday.

Visco Calls for New Bank Rules to Reduce Trauma (11:20 a.m.)

Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco urged new European rules to make an exit of smaller banks from the market less traumatic and as economical as possible.

While larger banks are eligible for resolution procedures, a crisis involving smaller lenders may lead to an orderly winding-up only if a bank is interested in acquiring assets and liabilities, Visco argued in a speech.

“In the absence of a purchaser, however, there would be no alternatives to an ordinary or ‘atomistic’ winding-up,” he said.

Borsa CEO Says Market Conditions Hurt IPOs Values (10:30 a.m.)

Borsa Italiana CEO Raffaele Jerusalmi expects 8 to 10 new firms to be listed on the main Italian stock market, including what "will likely to be the biggest IPO in Europe this year, the listing of Nexi," expected to be completed in 2 months.

While the numbers of IPOs will be in line with 2018, the valuations may be hurt by the current environment, he said.

UBI CEO Urges ‘as Much’ Investment as Possible (10 a.m.)

Investments and new infrastructures are the priorities to spur economic growth, said UBI Banca CEO Victor Massiah. The current economic environment hasn’t impacted on the new flows of non-performing loans, the CEO said. UBI will keep reducing soured debt and will work to improve profitability.

Banca Ifis CEO Say Investors Confidence is Needed (9:20 a.m.)

Giovanni Bossi, chief executive officer of Italy’s financial services firm Banca Ifis, urged the government to focus on policies aimed at supporting companies. “To create confidence, you need to push on public investment to reactivate a virtuous circle,” he said.

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