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BSI and Banca del Gottardo to join forces

07.11.2007

BSI will acquire Banca del Gottardo for a purchase price of CHF 1.775 billion, building one of the leading banks in Switzerland focusing on private wealth management, with combined assets under management of CHF 100 billion. The new bank will have headquarters in Ticino, a strong presence in the main Swiss financial centers, and significant growth potential in international markets.

Press conference to take place today at 11.00 am, at the Villa Castagnola in Lugano

Lugano, 7 November 2007 – BSI will acquire Banca del Gottardo for a purchase price of CHF 1.775 billion. By mid-2008, the two institutions will merge to form one of the leading banks in Switzerland focusing on private banking, with combined assets under management of approx. CHF 100 billion. The announcement has been made today by the respective shareholders, Trieste-based Generali Group and Zurich-based Swiss Life Group.

The future entity will be run by Alfredo Gysi, CEO of BSI, as Chief Executive Officer. Rolf W. Aeberli, CEO of Banca del Gottardo, has decided to look out for a new challenge after the merger planned by mid-2008. Until the completion of the transaction, he remains in his current position, and he is fully committed to support a smooth integration as well as a successful start of the new bank.

Alfredo Gysi, CEO of BSI:
“I am excited about this strategic move which will bring BSI on par with the top private banking institutions in our country. By joining forces with Banca del Gottardo, and with the strong commitment of Generali, we now have the opportunity to build an even more competitive private banking business with strong roots in Ticino, an attractive franchise across Switzerland and attractive growth opportunity in and outside of Europe. With the new combined bank, we will further develop and grow our businesses from this promising platform.”

Rolf W. Aeberli, CEO of Banca del Gottardo:
“After Swiss Life’s decision to concentrate on its life insurance business going forward, it was my goal to help induce a solution for Banca del Gottardo which is in the best interest of its clients and employees, as well as of the Ticino as a whole. I am convinced that we have reached this goal. I am very proud of the achievements of the Gottardo team over the last few years. Reaching the next level of success now requires a growth strategy set out for the long term. Teaming up with BSI is a very good answer to further leverage Banca del Gottardo’s strengths developed over the last fifty years.”

Attractive platform for growth
The combination of BSI and Banca del Gottardo will result in a strong platform for further growth in key markets and businesses, building on both banks’ individual strengths and complementary activities. The combined structure will benefit from a very competitive cost structure. The new bank will have a strong presence in the three major financial centers of Switzerland – Zurich, Geneva and Lugano – and an attractive international network with strong growth potential.

Strong signal for the Lugano financial center
The new bank will have its decision-making center in Lugano and be one of the largest employers and tax-payers of the canton Ticino. By joining forces, the two banks are thus underlining their commitment to and the importance of the financial center of Lugano. The new entity will maintain both banks’ tradition of supporting the regional educational infrastructure, local heritage and the arts.

After the merger, customers of both institutions will profit from an extended product and services offering, the new entity’s strong international presence and its improved value proposition.

For employees, the new bank will present attractive opportunities in a wider field of activities and markets, in an organization focused on growth. Headcount reduction resulting from certain duplications of the two banks will be realized by making use of early retirements, natural fluctuation, open positions and the envisaged growth. Where redundancies are inevitable, a generous social plan will be applied.

Next steps
Pending the necessary approvals by the relevant authorities, the deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter 2008.

The implementation program, overseen by the CEOs of the two banks, will start to be planned as of immediately. As per mid-2008, the combined bank is expected to be up and running. Until that date, the two banks will continue to be run as separate entities, led by the current management teams.

Enquiries

BSI SA
Stefano Coduri
Marketing & Wealth Management Services
Phone: +41 (0)91 809 39 73
Fax: +41 (0)91 809 40 50
E-Mail: stefano.coduri@bsi.ch
www.bsi.ch

Banca del Gottardo
Dario Ballanti
Marketing e Comunicazione
Phone.: +41 (0)91 808 33 61
Fax: +41 (0) 91 808 18 50
E-Mail: dario.ballanti@gottardo.com
www.gottardo.com

BSI SA was founded in Lugano in 1873, and is the oldest bank in the canton of Ticino. In 1998 the Generali Insurance Group assumed 100% control of BSI. BSI specializes in asset management and related services for private and institutional clients and is present in the major financial markets worldwide. The bank has six branches in Switzerland.

Banca del Gottardo , which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2007, is a Swiss bank which focuses on private banking. It is headquartered in Lugano and has subsidiaries, branches and representative offices in Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, Bellinzona, Chiasso, Locarno, Bergamo, Milan, Rome, Treviso, Turin, Athens, Luxembourg, Madrid, Paris, Hong Kong and Nassau. Banca del Gottardo belongs to the Swiss Life Group, which is listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange and is one of the leading suppliers of pension and life insurance solutions in Europe.
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