SIENA, Italy, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Suitors are not lining up to buy Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of its core shareholders said on Tuesday, months having passed since a request by the European Central Bank (ECB) for it to find a partner.
Italy’s third-biggest lender, which last year emerged as the weakest in a European banking sector health-check, has recently completed a 3 billion euro ($3.4-billion) rights issue requested by the ECB.
At the beginning of the year, the central bank asked the Tuscan-based lender to join forces with a stronger partner but gave no time frame for when a merger should take place.
“There does not seem to be a queue of suitors for the bank,” said Marcello Clarich, chairman of the Monte Paschi banking foundation, which used to control the bank before selling down its stake to 1.49 percent.
Clarich expects the arrival this month of Massimo Tononi, former Goldman Sachs banker and head of the Milan bourse, as new chairman may help Monte Paschi to find a buyer.
He said Tononi along with the current Monte Paschi CEO will likely have to discuss again the bank’s prospects with the ECB again. ($1 = 0.8879 euros) (Reporting by Silvia Ognibene; writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Keith Weir)