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Mediobanca open to talks on Banca Generali buyout if asked

FILE PHOTO: Italy's Mediobanca CEO Alberto Nagel presents a new business plan

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Mediobanca would consider buying a big wealth management asset such as Generali's private bank if it is put up for sale and brings significant synergies, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Chief Executive Alberto Nagel was speaking after the investment bank beat analysts' expectations in the first quarter of its financial year, with higher interest rates and a repricing of assets driving double-digit growth in net interest income.

Last month a source said insurer Generali could sell Banca Generali to Mediobanca to raise cash for a potential big deal of its own in the United States.

"We have a wait-and-see strategy. If we are contacted, we are willing to talk about it," Nagel told a briefing call when asked about a possible interest in Banca Generali. "This applies to every asset," he added, not only to Banca Generali.

To grow Mediobanca's wealth management operations, Nagel in 2020 considered swapping the group's 13% stake in Generali with Banca Generali. He also proposed a merger to Banca Mediolanum, but neither move led to a deal.

Net income in the quarter came in at 263 million euros ($264.2 million), above an analyst consensus provided by the bank of 230 million euros.

Net interest income (NII) grew by 10.6% to 396.3 million euros, pushing total revenues to record levels. The bank expects "significant" NII growth to continue in the coming quarters.

Mediobanca said it was on track to deliver on the targets of its business plan for 2023 by the end of June, particularly in earnings per share (EPS) growth and shareholder rewards.

($1 = 0.9956 euros)

(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro; editing by Agnieszka Flak and Keith Weir)