Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's biggest retail bank, is to open a representative office in Abu Dhabi, as the loss-making lender looks to overseas markets for growth.
Intesa Sanpaolo opened a branch in Dubai last year and the UAE will be its fourth overseas hubs for corporate and investment banking.
The move overseas comes as the bank posted a fourth-quarter net loss because of a €10.2bn (US$13.3bn) writedown of goodwill related to mergers and acquisitions.
The net loss was €10.1bn, compared with net income of 505 million euros a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the quarterly profit was €265m, the Milan-based lender said in a statement. Analysts expected profit of €633m, according to the average of 10 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The bank cut its dividend by 3 cents to 5 cents per share.
Enrico Tommaso Cucchiani was named as chief executive officer in November to replace Corrado Passera and is working on a business plan review to take into account negative market development and recession in Italy. Intesa is shedding jobs and reducing costs to strengthen finances as part of its five-year business plan.
“Intesa’s operating performance, net of 2011 non-recurring items, is expected to remain broadly stable,” the bank said in the statement. In the first quarter of the year operating profit may record a double-digit growth, Cucchiani said.