Isranomics

Israeli One Zero Digital Bank Ventures into Italy

by | Jan 8, 2024 | Company Reporting | 0 comments

In a strategic move, One Zero, the Israeli digital bank controlled by Prof. Amnon Shashua, is gearing up for a significant expansion into Italy. Advanced negotiations with the Generali Group have set the stage for this ambitious venture, marked by the establishment of a holding company that will oversee the bank’s operations in Israel, a technology subsidiary, and a new digital bank in Italy. This expansion, though promising, comes with challenges such as workforce layoffs and increased expenses.

Expansion Plans and Partnership with Generali Group

The expansion plan began last summer with the signing of a memorandum, and negotiations with the Generali Group have intensified in recent days. The agreement, still pending approval from the Bank of Israel, will lead to the formation of a holding company spearheaded by the current CEO of One Zero, Gal Bar Dea. This entity will control three subsidiaries, including the existing Israeli bank, a technology company servicing other subsidiaries, and the newly proposed digital bank in Italy.

Gal Bar Dea and Shuki Oren. Photo by Eyal Izhar

To facilitate the establishment of the Italian bank, One Zero has enlisted the expertise of Matteo Concas, former senior CEO of the German N26 bank, which also operates in Italy. Additionally, the Italian Generali Group, with prior ties to the Israeli insurance company Migdal, will have ownership stakes in the new Italian venture. This restructuring allows for potential expansion to other countries, contingent upon the success of the collaboration in Italy.

Gal Bar Dea, the current CEO of One Zero in Israel, will head the holding company, overseeing operations from Israel. The CEO position in Israel is set to be filled by Eyal Geffen, the current CFO of the bank. As part of the expansion, the bank anticipates hiring dozens of employees in Italy, resulting in efficiency measures in Israel, including layoffs affecting approximately 10% of the current workforce, or 35-45 employees out of 400.

Financial Considerations and Investor Relations

One Zero’s expansion into Italy is anticipated to incur additional expenses, prompting the bank to plan a fundraising round between $75 million and $100 million abroad. While the bank remains in a loss-making position, it aims to achieve profitability within two years, according to the forecast presented to investors. Notable shareholders, including Tencent Group, Hachshara Insurance, May Money, Julius Baer, and Aor Crowd, hold stakes in the company.

Main article image: One Zero office in Tel Aviv. Photo by Roi Bar.

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