J.C. Flowers & Co. close on the sale of First Bank to Intesa Sanpaolo


As the CEE banking sector experiences a period of transformation, the completion of J.C. Flowers & Co’s sale of First Bank to Intesa SanPaolo in Romania marks a defining moment in the country’s banking sector where key players are reshaping the industry.

Societe Generale acted as exclusive financial adviser to J.C. Flowers & Co. on the sale of First Bank to Intesa SanPaolo.

J.C. Flowers & Co. was founded in 1998 and has invested more than $17+ billion, including co-investment, in 65 portfolio companies across 18 countries since inception. Positioned as a powerhouse in the Romanian banking Industry, the acquisition of First Bank by JCF back in 2018, strengthened the investment firm’s footprint in the region, as the commercial bank is recognised as a key provider of a diversified range of financial products and services to retail, SME, and large corporate customers.

Following JCF's acquisition of First Bank, a successful restructuring has been executed alongside a full IT overhaul and measures to improve productivity. Significant advancements have been made in optimising efficiency and enhancing overall profitability, strategically positioning the bank for sustained growth and success.

Since 2021 SG has worked extensively with JCF and First Bank’s management to position the bank with potential buyers. The sale strengthens Intesa Sanpaolo’s presence in a growing and developing market, outside of Italy and will double Intesa’s assets, transforming it into a top-10 bank in Romania with €3.1bn in total assets. In addition, it will strengthen Intesa’s capabilities across Retail Mortgages and non-revolving corporate loans, while merging key functions.

We are proud to have advised J.C. Flowers & Co. on the sale of First Bank following its successful transformation and exit. The sale successfully demonstrates the appetite of strategic players to continue to deploy capital and resources in a fast-growing region with sound fundamentals. For financial sponsors, bringing together banking expertise with an active buy and build strategy remains a successful combination in markets that are rapidly changing, and deliver attractive potential upside.
Stanislas LecatManaging Director, Head of UK Financial Sponsors at Societe Generale