Generali, Donnet plays the Cattolica card

From contested rescue to flagship in a twist worthy of a TV series. Philippe Donnet, CEO of Generali, aims to transform the marriage with Cattolica, an operation initially criticized by the two pact members (Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone and Leonardo Del Vecchio), into the workhorse for winning the third term.

The next few months will be complex for the manager, who has been working on the new business plan on the agenda for December 15th for some time. And finishing off the integration with the Veronese company could be the icing on the cake before introducing yourself to the financial community and then to the assembly. The plan will have to convince institutional investors, which own 40.3% of Generali, and private individuals (23.97%), countering the advance of Caltagirone and Del Vecchio who, a week ago, started the revolution by putting Mediobanca’s leadership is being discussed (12.93% of Generali) and announcing the establishment of a consultation pact aimed at renewing governance (yesterday at 11.068% of the share capital). A pact in which, as also specified yesterday in the additions requested by Consob, any other purchases by the two entrepreneurs will converge (yesterday Caltagirone rose again, to 6.1%) and which is open to third parties, provided that no takeover bid obligation. And there are already those who are looking towards CRT (1.3%) and Benettons (3.97%).

For this Donnet hopes to tighten the time on Cattolica which should bring an operating profit for 2021 between 265 and 290 million euros, over 3.5 million customers, 5.6 billion premiums at the end of 2020 and over 20 billion. under management in the balance sheet at the end of June. Not only. With the wedding, Generali will benefit from fully operational synergies, 80 million a year, as well as consolidating its position on the Italian market, reaching 21% in terms of gross premiums in Non-Life and 18% in Life. The cost of the operation for Leone was estimated at 7-8 percentage points of Solvency.

Generali had rushed to Cattolica’s bedside in the summer of 2020 to operationally enter the group with 24% of the capital in October against an injection of 300 million (5.5 euros per share). With the transformation of Cattolica into a spa, Generali at the end of May broke the delay and announced a takeover bid at 6.75 euros per share for an outlay of 1.176 billion. Ivass gave the go-ahead for the operation yesterday. Only Consob is missing, waiting for the end of the month. At that point, the communication of the fairness opinion on the takeover bid by Cattolica will follow, assisted by Kpmg, Citi and Chiomenti and, presumably in mid-October, the offer aimed at delisting will start. There are already those who are aiming for an upward adjustment in the price given that, since the announcement of the takeover bid, Cattolica has always quoted well above the price offered, closing yesterday with a rise of 0.3% at 7.12 euros .

On the governance front, the work of the board continues in view of the board of 27 September which, barring surprises, will resolve the presentation of a list of the board at the April shareholders’ meeting. After last Tuesday’s clash, in which 8 of the 12 board members summoned welcomed Donnet’s availability for the third term, this week there could be a nomination committee called to examine the role of president Gabriele Galateri di Genola.

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