Italian financial services group Banco BPM is exploring strategic options for its merchant acquiring business, reported Reuters citing chief executive Giuseppe Castagna

Banco BPM aims to boost profitability in its retailers’ payment business, Castagna told reporters on the sidelines of the Assiom-Forex conference in Milan.

For such businesses, known as merchant acquiring, the majority of Italian banks have looked for a partner and have sold all or a portion of their operations.

Most recently,  Italian payment firm Nexi agreed to buy the merchant acquiring and POS management businesses of BPER Banca and its Banco Di Sardegna subsidiary for €384m.

In late 2019, Intesa Sanpaolo signed a €1bn deal with Nexi to sell its retailers’ payment business.

However, Banco BPM CEO indicated that outright disposal was not an option. 

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“What we certainly would not do is be selling future P&L (profit and loss) inflows to get cash upfront,” Castagna was quoted by the news agency as saying. 

“Like with our other businesses, we’re looking for … a model that creates more value for the bank,” he added without elaborating.

In December, the Italian lender agreed to sell a 65% stake in its non-life insurance business to French peer Credit Agricole.

The insurance alliance with Credit Agricole, which is Banco BPM’s largest shareholder, built on their existing partnership in the consumer banking space.