Shareholders led by the biggest investor in the bailed-out bank
rejected plans for a 3 billion euro ($4 billion) share sale in
January and postponed the capital raising until after May 12.
The bank's chairman and its chief executive may resign following the
unprecedented clash with the main shareholder in the Siena-based
lender, a charitable banking foundation with close ties to local
The focus of attention now turns to Rome where both the economy
ministry, which has oversight of banking foundations, and the Bank
of Italy are closely following events.
The world's oldest bank needs to tap investors for cash to pay back
4.1 billion euros in state aid it received earlier this year and
avert nationalization after being hammered by the euro zone debt
crisis and loss-making derivatives trades.
The capital increase is part of a tough restructuring plan agreed
with the European Commission in order to receive clearance for the
A Treasury spokesman said the government's priority was to give the
bailout money back to taxpayers and it had no interest in
nationalizing Monte Paschi, ANSA news agency reported on Sunday
evening. Sources said the Treasury will continue to encourage all
parties involved to find a solution, ANSA reported.
Monte Paschi Chairman Alessandro Profumo, an internationally
respected banker who was formerly the chief of UniCredit <CRDI.MI>,
said on Saturday he and chief executive Fabrizio Viola would decide
whether to step down next month. A board meeting is expected around
Profumo and Viola had already secured a pool of banks to guarantee
the rights issue, but only if it was carried out by the end of
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They said the delay makes fundraising harder because of likely
competition from other Italian and European lenders prompted to seek
new capital by an upcoming sector health check, and could
precipitate the Tuscan bank's nationalization.
By forcing a postponement of the rights issue, the cash-strapped
Monte dei Paschi foundation — whose stake in the bank is big enough
to veto any unwanted decision — is hoping to win more time to sell
down its 33.5 percent holding and repay its own debts.
The foundation head Antonella Mansi said that carrying out the
capital increase in January would massively dilute the foundation's
holding, leaving it with virtually nothing to sell to reimburse
debts of 340 million euros.
($1 = 0.7258 euros)
(Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by
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