Intesa Sanpaolo to expand in Romania through acquisition of First Bank

Italian banking company Intesa Sanpaolo has agreed to acquire Romania’s First Bank from the US-based private investment fund JC Flowers and Company for an undisclosed sum.

Intesa Sanpaolo has signed a share purchase agreement with JCF Tiger Holdings, the controlling shareholder of First Bank, to acquire a 99.98% stake in First Bank.

First Bank is a commercial bank engaged in serving SMEs and retail customers, with 40 branches in Romania. It has total assets worth around €1.5bn.

The Romanian bank has been investing in digital technology and developing mobile banking apps. The transaction is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2024, subject to approval by the relevant regulatory authorities.

Through the acquisition of First Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo is enabled to strengthen its presence in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region.

Intesa Sanpaolo international subsidiary banks division chief Marco Elio Rottigni said: “We’re pleased to welcome First Bank’s employees and customers into the Intesa Sanpaolo Group.

“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.

“Expanding in Romania strengthens our well-established position in Central and Eastern Europe and actively supports the internationalization of Italian companies. We look forward to working with our new colleagues very soon.”

Intesa Sanpaolo has been present in Romania since 1996 through its subsidiary Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Romania, which is a part of its International Subsidiary Banks Division (ISBD).

Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Romania serves around 60,000 customers through 34 branches and has assets of around €1.5bn.

ISBD is a key player in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region, operating 11 commercial banks in CEE and Egypt and a wealth management company in China.

With around 900 branches and a dedicated workforce of nearly 21,000 employees, the network serves more than seven million clients, said the Italian lender. Earlier this year, Intesa Sanpaolo signed an agreement with IBM to adopt innovative technology infrastructures, as the bank launches a new digital banking service.