The boss of Mediobanca, the biggest investor in Italy’s Generali which is the subject of a mooted bid by Intesa Sanpaolo, said he was currently sticking to plans to sell just 3 per cent of the insurer by 2019 and “keep the rest” of the stake.

“We cannot make our plans on if and when. Our plan on equity stakes in the one you know, we are sticking to that: We will sell 3 per cent from here to 2019 and we will keep the rest. The rest is speculation and hypothesis and we don’t base our daily activity on hypothesis”, Alberto Nagel told a conference call on

However, asked by analysts at what price he would consider selling Mediobanca’s 13 per cent stake in Generali, Mr Nagel said:

We started to sell some shares more than a year ago, we sold on the market at €17 to €18 per shares in cash.

Generali shares traded at about €14 a share on Thursday morning, while Mediobanca briefly rose to the top Europe’s banking index, up 2 per cent. They have since fallen back to 0.8 per cent up on the day.

Mediobanca earlier reported a net profit of €148m in the quarter ended Dec 2016, higher than consensus expectations about €120m, driven by higher fees and lower provision. It also included a €29m recovery on the acquisition of Barclays’ Italian operations.

Its core tier 1, a measure of its balance sheet strength, stood at 12.3 per cent phase in Basel 3, among the strongest in the Italian sector, mainly due to retained earnings and improving risk weighted assets.

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