ITALY – Italian banking group Banca Intesa and Crédit Agricole have agreed to a 12-year deal that sees their asset management arms merging into an entity which would be second in the Italian market.

The deal sees the French bank paying €850m to Banca Intesa for the ownership of 65% of the new company, whose name has not yet been made public. Intesa will hold the remaining 35%.

The deal will take assets under management at Crédit Agricole Asset Management to more than €430bn under.

The new asset manager will be the result of the integration of Crédit Agricole Asset Management Italia and Nextra Investment Management, which has €100bn under management, 20% of which on behalf of institutional investors.

Nextra ended 2004 with a €43m negative net result due to a €160m extraordinary charge for a settlement with the Parmalat group.

Crédit Agricole already owns 18.04% of Banca Intesa. It holds 41.44% of the group together with Fondazione Cariplo, Generali Group, Fondazione Cariparma and Gruppo Lombardo.

“CAAM will strengthen its position among the main European asset managers and will be ranked fourth in the Continent in terms of assets under management,” Intesa said in a statement.

“Gruppo Intesa will be able to satisfy customer needs in terms of both quantity and quality of the product range,” it added. The transaction should be concluded by the second half of 2005.