August 27, 2018 / 7:28 AM / 3 months ago

Investor Mincione urges Italy's Carige to merge with another bank

MILAN (Reuters) - One of the top shareholders in Italy’s Banca Carige (CRGI.MI) said on Sunday the bank should merge with another lender “in the shortest time possible”, after announcing he had teamed up with two other investors ahead of a shareholders’ meeting.

Raffaele Mincione emerged this year as one of Carige’s top shareholders with a 5.4 percent stake but failed to attain a board seat. He has since raised that holding to below 9.9 percent, sources have said.

Mincione said on Sunday that he had submitted a list of candidates for the upcoming renewal of the bank’s board, with his name up for the lender’s chairmanship and that of outgoing CEO Paolo Fiorentino again as chief executive.

Mincione also said that he had signed a shareholders’ agreement with investors Aldo Spinelli and Gabriele Volpi, who both committed to voting in favor of the list. Local entrepreneur Volpi owns 9 percent in Carige.

Shareholders in Genoa-based Carige meet on Sept. 20 to appoint a new board.

The European Central Bank has told Carige to move quickly to solve its governance crisis following a clash between the lender’s top investor, Vittorio Malacalza, and current CEO Paolo Fiorentino, which has led to a string of board resignations.

In July, the ECB had given the Genoa-based lender until the end of the year to close a capital shortfall, or to start seeking a merger with a stronger peer.

“Banca Carige need to press ahead quickly with its path of recovery which has been carried out by Paolo Fiorentino... without losing precious time,” Mincione said in the statement.

He added his set of candidates was the “best solution” to protect shareholders.

Malacalza Investimenti, the holding company of local businessman Malacalza which owns 23.96 percent of Carige, submitted its list of candidates, including veteran bankers Fabio Innocenzi and Pietro Modiano on Thursday.

Fiorentino is the third CEO to be pushed out by Malacalza since it became Carige’s top investor in 2014.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; editing by Jason Neely

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