By Valentina Za
MILAN (Reuters) – Italian payments giant Nexi is open to different partnership models, it said on Wednesday as leading banks UniCredit and Banco BPM review options for their payments business.
Nexi CEO Paolo Bertoluzzo made the comments as the group confirmed 2023 guidance after reporting first-quarter profit in line with forecasts, though revenue exceeded expectations.
Banco BPM is working to select a partner by the end of June for its retailers’ and payment card business, which it has valued at 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) taking into account future fees.
Sources have said that Nexi is in the running, though Nexi traditionally acquires full ownership of banks’ merchants payment businesses, sometimes over years, as with its recent deal with Spain’s Sabadell.
“Different models can work and we are keen to be open to what ultimately banks sees as their strategy,” Bertoluzzo said, adding that the valuation of the business and related up-front payment would need to vary accordingly.
UniCredit, meanwhile, is conducting a review of its payment operations across its 13 markets. A source with knowledge of the matter said the bank expects to complete the process by the end of September.
“Everywhere … banks continuously revisit their payments strategies,” Bertoluzzo said, adding that the business is becoming increasingly technology-centred requiring dedicated partners.
“Specialisation in digital payments is becoming the rule of the game,” he said.
Nexi reported a 13.6% rise in first-quarter core profit as transaction volumes grew by double-digit percentages across all its markets, a trend that continued in April.
Revenue rose 9% year-on-year to 741.7 million euros, above an analyst consensus gathered by the company.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was 335.7 million euros, in line with forecasts, with the core profit margin rising by 183 basis points.
($1 = 0.9084 euros)
(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by David Goodman)