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Aug 7, 2013

Monte dei Paschi’s losses worsen due to bad debts, income drop

MILAN, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Scandal-hit Italian bank Monte dei
Paschi di Siena made a bigger than expected
second-quarter loss due to higher writedowns on loans and a
sharp drop in interest income, making it harder for Italy’s
third-biggest bank to avoid partial nationalisation next year.

The world’s oldest bank reported a loss of 279.3 million
euros ($372 million) on Wednesday, its fifth consecutive
quarterly loss and worse than the average forecast of 150.6
million euros given in a Reuters poll of five analysts.

Aug 6, 2013

UniCredit points to early recovery signs in Italy

MILAN, Aug 6 (Reuters) – UniCredit, Italy’s
largest bank by assets, pointed to early signs of economic
recovery in its home country even as it set aside more money for
bad loans due to a prolonged recession in the euro zone’s
third-biggest economy.

Like domestic rival Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit
increased provisions in the second quarter to cover bad loans,
which continued to climb, although at a slower pace than in the
previous quarter, according to results released on Tuesday.

Aug 2, 2013

Intesa makes more bad loan provisions as profit falls

MILAN, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Net profit at Intesa Sanpaolo
, Italy’s biggest retail bank, fell more than expected
in the second quarter, tumbling 75 percent as it set aside more
money to cover souring loans in its recession-hit local market.

Bad loans have become one of the main troublespots for
Italian banks and the Bank of Italy said this week it had
intensified inspections of the loan books of eight lenders,
although a source close to the matter said none of Italy’s top
five banks were among those under extra scrutiny.

Aug 1, 2013

Generali says won’t sell BSI if price not right

MILAN/LONDON (Reuters) – Italian insurer Generali SpA (GASI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is still looking for buyers for its Swiss private banking business BSI, but won’t sell if the price isn’t right, company executives said on Thursday.

The sale of BSI, which has an estimated book value of 2.3 billion Swiss francs ($2.5 billion), is important for Generali as the proceeds would help it shore up its capital and cut debt.

Aug 1, 2013

Generali first-half net tops 1 billion on non-life growth

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian insurer Generali (GASI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a 28 percent rise in first-half net profit to 1.08 billion euros ($1.4 billion), thanks to a strong performance in its non-life business, it said on Thursday.

The result, which Generali called its best half-year performance in the past five years, was in line with the average forecast of 1.08 billion in a Reuters poll of five analysts.

Jul 31, 2013

JP Morgan under investigation in Monte Paschi probe: document

SIENA/MILAN (Reuters) – Italian prosecutors probing Monte dei Paschi’s 2007 acquisition of a smaller rival are investigating U.S. investment bank JP Morgan over an alleged crime committed by one of its employees, according to a prosecutors’ document.

The document, seen by Reuters, said the alleged crime was the obstruction of Italian regulators by an unknown JP Morgan employee relating to a 1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) hybrid financial instrument used to partly fund Monte dei Paschi’s purchase of Antonveneta.

Jul 18, 2013

Monte Paschi scraps stake limit to lure investors

SIENA, Italy, July 18 (Reuters) – Shareholders at
scandal-hit Italian lender Monte dei Paschi lifted
ownership restrictions on Thursday in a bid to lure new
investors and pay back state aid, potentially opening the way to
a takeover of the world’s oldest bank.

A heated extraordinary shareholder meeting voted in favour
of scrapping bylaws that said only Monte dei Paschi’s top
investor – a charitable foundation with links to local
politicians – could hold more than 4 percent of the lender.

Jul 17, 2013

Monte Paschi to scrap stake limit in bid to lure investors

MILAN, July 18 (Reuters) – Italy’s Monte dei Paschi
is set to change its ownership rules on Thursday,
seeking to lure new investors to pay back state aid and
potentially opening the way to a takeover of the world’s oldest

An extraordinary shareholder meeting is expected to vote in
favour of scrapping bylaws that say only Monte dei Paschi’s top
investor – a charitable foundation with links to local
politicians – can hold more than 4 percent of the lender.

Jun 26, 2013

Italy denies risk to public finances from debt derivative deals

MILAN, June 26 (Reuters) – Italy’s treasury denied on
Wednesday its use of derivatives as a hedge on its huge debt
pile posed any risk to public finances, following reports the
country faced billions of euros in potential losses from one set
of contracts.

The Financial Times and La Repubblica said the eight
contracts, restructured at the height of the euro zone crisis in
2012, could result in combined losses of around 8 billion euros
($10.5 billion) based on market prices on June 20.

Jun 24, 2013

Italy court finds Berlusconi guilty on sex charges

MILAN (Reuters) – A Milan court sentenced Italian former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday to seven years in prison after convicting him of paying for sex with a minor but he will not have to serve any jail time before he has exhausted appeals.

With two appeals possible, it could be years before a verdict is final and Berlusconi lawyers announced they would file an appeal against what his counsel Niccolo Ghedini called a “completely illogical” verdict.