italian lender backs €5bn share sale
Last Updated : GMT 19:44:38
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Italian lender backs €5bn share sale

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Arab Today, arab today Italian lender backs €5bn share sale

Roma - AFP

Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena gave the go-ahead on Friday to a 5.0 billion euro equity raising that will boost its capital and allow it to repay a government bailout this year. The bank said in a statement the share sale would give it a strong enough "capital buffer" to withstand EU bank stress tests in the current climate of "high uncertainty and limited visibility". The increase will also allow the lender to speed up a restructuring plan, due to be completed by 2017, that includes 8,000 job cuts and the closure of 550 branches. The bank had initially planned a 3.0-billion euro boost, but the amount was changed this week. The Tuscan bank has to pay back by the end of the year some 4.0 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in credit it received from the Italian government last year to stave off bankruptcy. Chief executive Fabrizio Viola told Italian news channel SkyTG24 that the share sale would be carried out "starting in mid-June until mid-July". The larger-than-expected raising will also put the bank out of risk of being nationalised, he added. Instead, Monte dei Paschi said the share sale would put it in a better position to seize "opportunities linked to a possible recovery of macro-economic conditions". The "hope is to bring the bank back to profitability in a short space of time," Viola said. The bank's share price rose 2.81 percent to 0.2375 euros on Thursday as investors anticipated an announcement of the equity raising. Stocks markets were closed on Friday. Friday's board also called an extraordinary meeting of shareholders for May 20-22 to give approval for the share sale. Monte dei Paschi is Italy's third-largest bank and was founded in 1472. Like other Italian lenders, it has been hit by impaired loans during the country's two-year recession

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