Credit Agricole Italy is keen on investing in insurance operations of Italian lender Banco BPM, reported Reuters.

As part of a strategy to bring insurance activities within its control, Banco BPM has exercised a call option in an effort to gain complete ownership of its insurance joint-venture with France-based COVEA.

Banco BPM, which is a leading bank in Italy, has stated that it will also look at offers from potential new partners in the wake of interest being generated for its insurance assets.

With the recent acquisition of 9.2% stake in Banco, Credit Agricole has become its single biggest investor and plans to expand strategic partnerships with focus on consumer credit.

Credit Agricole Italy CEO Giampiero Maioli said the firm would work to offer the best terms for Banco BPM’s insurance assets.

Maioli added:  “We’ve expressed an interest and we’ll see what Banco BPM decides to do, whether they’ll pick a partner or just bring the business in house.”.

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“That will be up to the bank … we’ll try to offer, if circumstances allow it, the best conditions.”

On the sidelines of a conference, the news agency asked Maioli whether Credit Agricole Italy would also explore closer asset management links with the Italian lender, he, however, ruled out any interest for Anima, the asset manager in which Banco BPM owns one-fifth of the shares.

He added: “There is nothing that concerns us in relation to Anima. Right now we’re focused on the ‘bancassurance’ issue.”

In April, it was reported that the Italian bank was considering potential partnerships for its insurance business.