Milano, 27 May 2003

The final agreement was signed in Buenos Aires for the merger between Banco Sudameris Argentina, a subsidiary of Gruppo Intesa, and Banco Patagonia, a local financial institution leader in the Patagonia region.


The new entity resulting from the merger, called Banco Patagonia-Sudameris, is controlled by the current shareholders of Banco Patagonia, whilst Gruppo Intesa retains a 19.95% minority stake in line with its planned disengagement from Latin America.


The bank, which has been strengthened by the capital injection accounted for in Banca Intesa 2002 consolidated financial statements, fully complies with the new regulations issued by the Argentinean authorities in order to cope with the severe damages suffered by the local banking system during the 2001-2002 financial crisis.


Banco Patagonia-Sudameris will operate throughout Argentina with a network of over 100 branches, and its balance sheet will include approximately 2,600 million pesos of total assets and  700 million pesos of shareholders’ equity. The traditional corporate and international banking business of Banco Sudameris perfectly complements the retail business of Banco Patagonia.


Banco Patagonia-Sudameris will thus be able to fully exploit the expected economic recovery also by leveraging on its being a reference point for the very important Italy-Argentina related business.