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Italy's Carige approves 500 million euro cash call in capital boosting plan
July 3, 2017 / 8:59 PM / 5 months ago

Italy's Carige approves 500 million euro cash call in capital boosting plan

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s Banca Carige (CRGI.MI) approved a series of measures aimed at rebuilding its balance sheet on Monday, including a cash call of up to 500 million euros (439 million pounds) and a 1.2 billion euro sale of bad loans.

Carige, the country’s ninth-biggest bank, has been told by European supervisors to shed bad debts and shore up its core capital, which does not meet the regulator’s minimum requirements.

Restructuring at the regional lender was delayed earlier this year by a row over how to fix the bank’s problems that led the bank’s top investor, a local businessman, to squeeze out the former chief executive.

In a statement on Monday, Carige said it aimed to complete its capital increase by the end of the year after selling the bad loan portfolio and disposing of assets worth at least 200 million euros.

The cash call is guaranteed by Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank in their roles as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners, it said.

Carige’s move comes days after Italy started to wind up two failed banks in the Veneto region in a deal that could cost the state up to 17 billion euros.

Rome is also waiting for a final green light to pump 6.6 billion euros of state money into Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) to help keep the troubled lender in business.

Italian banks are struggling with bad debts that stood at some 350 billion euros at the end of last year and are striving to shift them off their balance sheets to boost profitability.

    Carige, heavily exposed to the northwestern Liguria region where it is based, has lost nearly 2 billion euros in the past four years because of big loan writedowns and slumping revenues.

    But with assets of 26 billion euros and a capital gap of 600 million euros, Carige is expected to be much less of a headache than the two Veneto-based banks.

    Carige’s capital increase, its third cash call since 2014, had originally been penciled in for this summer but the removal of former CEO Guido Bastianini and his replacement by former UniCredit (CRDI.MI) executive Paolo Fiorentino has cost time.

    The bank said it had appointed Andrea Soro as its new Chief Financial Officer.

    ($1 = 0.8800 euros)

    Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Catherine Evans

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