Barclays has concluded the sale of its Italian retail banking business to CheBanca!, which is a part of the Mediobanca Group.

The Italy retail banking business, which includes 85 branches and 220,000 clients, would be offloaded at a loss of £258m, the British lender said.

The sale, part of the bank's strategy to boost profitability by disposing non-core assets, was announced in December 2015.

Barclays Group CEO Jes Staley said: “Accelerating the run down of BNC is a key part of our strategy to close the gap between the Group’s returns and those in our strong core business. Last week we completed the sale of our analytics and index business to Bloomberg, and today’s announcement highlights again how we are on track to reach £20bn RWAs by the end of 2017.”

Barclays will however, retain its corporate and investment banking business in Italy.  

CheBanca! CEO GianLuca Sichel said: “The acquisition of Barclays’ Italian retail activities will enable us to significantly enhance our client base while maintaining high quality levels, and to strengthen our capabilities and multi-channel business model which is unique on the market in terms of accessibility and innovation.”