July 30, 2020 / 4:03 PM / 14 days ago

Nexi CEO says SIA merger talks ongoing, deal possible only if creates value

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Italian payments group Nexi is pictured outside their headquarters in Milan, Italy, March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian payment firms Nexi (NEXII.MI) and smaller rival SIA will only complete the potential merger they have been discussing in recent months if it makes sense for both sides and their shareholders, Nexi’s chief executive said on Thursday.

“If there’s a chance to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties and creates value for our shareholders, we will move forward,” CEO Paolo Bertoluzzo told analysts during a conference call after first half results.

He said talks were being held “in a context in which Nexi is listed and has a public price and SIA has not”. While a merger would have a strategic and industrial rationale, “it can only be done if it brings value to all shareholders, otherwise both companies will continue with their own projects,” he said.

SIA is controlled by Italian state lender CDP which is expected to be a key shareholder in any combined entity.

The two companies have been exploring a possible tie-up to create an Italian powerhouse in the sector since at least early 2020. However earlier this month press reports speculated that the merger had stalled, with valuation issues seen as a potential sticking point.

Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; editing by James Mackenzie

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