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Gardant teams up with AMCO in race for BPER's NPL unit-sources

MILAN, May 20 (Reuters) - Elliott-backed Italian bad loan specialist Gardant has teamed up with state-owned rival AMCO in the race to secure the bad loan business put up for sale by Italy's fifth-largest bank BPER Banca, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Bids for BPER's bad loan unit and a bad loan portfolio the bank will offload with the management unit are due in a couple of weeks, one of the sources said.

Gardant is one of four major players on the Italian non-performing loan market BPER has invited to bid, two of the sources said, adding the other suitors were Sweden's Intrum , SofBank-backed doValue and Prelios, which is owned by U.S. fund Davidson Kempner. ($1 = 0.9485 euros) (Reporting by Valentina Za Editing by Keith Weir)

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