Italy's Intesa boss calls for one-year extension in debt holiday

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo in Milan

MILAN (Reuters) - The head of Intesa Sanpaolo on Tuesday urged Italy to extend by a year a debt moratorium scheme imposed by the government to help businesses weather the virus crisis, which is set to expire after September.

Italy has just concluded the takeover of rival UBI Banca in a deal that will turn it into the country's biggest bank and the euro zone's eighth-largest group.

Speaking after Intesa posted stronger-than-expected second-quarter results, CEO Carlo Messina said he would ask the government to consider an extension to prevent an immediate flood of problem loans hitting banks.

"And not a two-month extension, I'm talking about a one-year extension that could help ... the banking system, we're the ones that would draw the least benefits from it, but for the system as a whole it'd be important," he said.

"At the end of the moratorium, we'll definitely see an increase, even if not a dramatic one, [in impaired loans] especially so-called past-due loans."

(Reporting by Valentina Za and Andrea Mandala; editing by James Mackenzie)