March 13, 2020 / 11:22 AM / 16 days ago

Italian companies rush to provide funds for virus emergency

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest insurer Generali (GASI.MI) on Friday joined a rising number of companies that have rushed to provide funds to fight the coronavirus crisis.

Italy has been hardest hit by the outbreak in Europe, with 15,113 confirmed cases of coronavirus, which has infected more than 134,500 people worldwide and caused more than 4,900 deaths.

Generali said it would create an extraordinary international fund of up to 100 million euros ($112 million) to help countries facing the coronavirus emergency.

“Generali is strongly committed to support the communities around us, especially the hardest hit,” Chief Executive Philippe Donnet said on a results call for media.

A first tranche of up 30 million euros will be available to help with the extraordinary emergencies in Italy.

Italy’s biggest bank UniCredit (CRDI.MI), which has already donated 2 million euros to the Civil Protection Agency, said on Friday it had set up a group-wide employee fundraising initiative to support three of the Italian hospitals most involved in the battle against the coronavirus.

UniCredit Foundation, the foundation of the banking group focused on solidarity and social inclusion initiatives, will contribute with 10 euros for each euro donated by employees up to a total of 1 million euros, the bank said in a statement.

Italy’s top retail bank Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) is ready to donate up to 100 million euros to Italy to tackle the outbreak and grant up to 5 billion euros in loans to companies affected by it, the lender’s Chief Executive Carlo Messina told Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Saturday.

Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro, editing by

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