February 9, 2009 / 8:42 AM / 10 years ago

Libya to fill half of UniCredit capital gap -reports

MILAN, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Libya’s central bank will fill half of a 500 million euro ($645.5 million) gap in bank UniCredit SpA’s (CRDI.MI) 3 billion euro capital raising measures, newspapers reported on Monday.

Shareholders Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino (CRT) and Carimonte Holding will also take up about 230 million euros of the shortfall, Il Messaggero newspaper said.

A spokesman for UniCredit had no immediate comment.

The CariVerona foundation, the top shareholder in UniCredit with just over 6 percent, said on Friday it would abstain from the capital raising measure at UniCredit, Italy’s number two bank by market value.

The move left a 500 million euro shorfall in the capital raising measures. Overall, UniCredit is boosting its capital by 6.6 billion euros to improve its ability to manage risk.

Il Messaggero and Corriere della Sera newspapers said Libya’s central bank, with a 4.6 percent holding, would take up 250 million euros of CariVerona’s slice of the increase.

Shareholders CRT and Carimonte Holding will form a vehicle with 51 percent of the capital held by Turin-based CRT, Il Messaggero said. Their 230 million euro contribution will be made up of 160 million euros of their own capital and the rest from a bank loan.

Other smaller foundations will take up the remaining 20 million euros, Corriere della Sera said.

La Stampa said Libya’s central bank would hold about 7 percent in UniCredit after the capital increase and become the biggest single shareholder.

CRT and Carimonte together would have 9 percent voting rights, it said.

UniCredit and its adviser Mediobanca SpA (MDBI.MI) said on Sunday investors would make up the shortfall, without giving details.

UniCredit had targeted raising its Core Tier 1 ratio — a standard of capital held against risky assets — to 6.7 percent at the end of 2008. CariVerona’s contribution would have been equivalent to 9 basis points on the ratio.

Analysts have suggested Cariverona’s abstention could be to exert pressure for its own choice as chairman to replace Dieter Rampl, even though other shareholders have expressed support.

Any management changes could be discussed at a governance committee meeting on Monday. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by David Holmes)

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