September 5, 2018 / 4:41 PM / 13 days ago

Carige's biggest shareholder seeks to block rival's boardroom plan

MILAN (Reuters) - Banca Carige’s (CRGI.MI) biggest shareholder has asked a judge to prevent a rival shareholder in the Italian bank from putting forward a list of candidates for a boardroom overhaul.

Shareholders in Carige, Italy’s last remaining problem bank, are due to meet on Sept. 20 to appoint a new board and attempt to solve a governance crisis.

The European Central Bank has told Carige to move quickly to solve its governance issues after a clash between the bank’s biggest shareholder, Vittorio Malacalza, and current CEO Paolo Fiorentino, which has led to a string of board resignations.

In July, the ECB gave the Genoa-based bank until the end of the year to close a capital shortfall, or to start seeking a merger with a stronger rival.

Malacalza Investimenti, the investment vehicle of local businessman Malacalza, is seeking to replace CEO Fiorentino with UBS banker Fabio Innocenzi.

Fiorentino would be the third CEO ousted by Malacalza since he became the largest shareholder in the bank in 2014 by buying into a cash call.

The current CEO is backed by rival investor Raffaele Mincione, who has formed a pact with two other prominent shareholders in the bank Aldo Spinelli and Gabriele Volpi.

Malacalza said in a statement on Wednesday the list submitted by Mincione should not be allowed because it lacked ECB authorisation needed to buy stakes in a bank that account in aggregate for at least 10 percent of its capital or to allow these shareholders to exert significant influence.

Mincione had no immediate comment. The ECB declined to comment.

Earlier on Wednesday, regulatory filings showed Malacalza Investimenti had bought more than 2 billion shares in Carige last month, raising its stake to just above 24 percent according to Reuters calculations.

Reporting by Valentina Za. Editing by Jane Merriman

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