MILAN Feb 7 Italy's banking industry rescue
fund Atlante expects the European Central Bank to approve a
merger for ailing Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, likely
requesting state support to ensure the plan's success.
"The ECB is already telling us, and it hasn't been easy, to
consider the two banks as one. If things work out, and I have
reason to believe they will ... we can close it by early
September," Alessandro Penati, chairman of the Quaestio asset
manager that runs Atlante, told reporters on the sidelines of a
"The ECB would put much of its credibility at stake in
authorising the first such merger in Europe ... they want to
have a guarantee the plan would be fully funded from the start
and have very high chances of success ... precautionary
recapitalisation is the way but done in the right way."
(Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Agnieszka Flak)