Silvia's Feed
May 29, 2012

Catholics fear Vatican scandal will harm Church

VATICAN CITY, May 29 (Reuters) – Clerics and pilgrims
visiting St Peter’s basilica on Tuesday expressed shock over a
scandal that has shaken the Vatican and led to the arrest of the
pope’s butler, fearing it would hurt both the pontiff and the
Church.

“It’s awful and very sad that something like that can happen
right at the heart of the Vatican,” said David Kaberia, a priest
from Meru in Kenya, standing under the sun in a queue snaking
through half of St Peter’s Square to tour one of the holiest
sites of Roman Catholicism.

May 27, 2012

Parma mayor becomes Italy’s most-watched politician

PARMA, Italy (Reuters) – Federico Pizzarotti was an unknown, 38-year-old computer technician at a bank until a few weeks ago. Just four days after being elected the mayor of Parma, he has become the most-watched political figure in Italy.

Pizzarotti’s leap to fame comes thanks to the grassroots Five-Star Movement, led by comedian Beppe Grillo, which dealt a stunning blow to the parties that have governed Italy for the past two decades in this month’s local elections.

May 25, 2012

Euro zone must head toward banking union: ECB’s Praet

MILAN (Reuters) – The euro zone needs to push ahead with its financial sector reform plans and create a centrally managed and funded body to handle troubled banks, a European Central Bank policymaker said on Friday.

“Europe needs to move towards a ‘financial union’, with a single euro area authority responsible for the supervision and resolution of large and complex cross-border banks,” ECB Executive Board member Peter Praet said.

May 23, 2012

UniCredit, Intesa sold LSE stakes at 960p a share

MILAN, May 23 (Reuters) – Italian banks UniCredit
and Intesa Sanpaolo said on Wednesday they had sold
their combined 11.5 percent stake in the London Stock Exchange
for 960 pence per share, raising 370 million euros.

The price was at the bottom end of the 960-1,000 pence range
provided by the offer terms sheet on Tuesday, valuing
UniCredit’s 6.1 percent stake at 197.6 million euros ($252
million) and Intesa’s 5.4 percent holding at 172.5 million
euros.

May 22, 2012

Italy’s UniCredit, Intesa selling stakes in LSE

MILAN/LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – Italian banks UniCredit
and Intesa Sanpaolo said they were selling
their combined 11.5 percent stake in the London Stock Exchange
(LSE), as they both move to shed non-core assets and
boost their capital.

In separate statements on Tuesday, UniCredit and Intesa said
they would place their respective stakes with institutional
investors. UniCredit has 6.1 percent and Intesa 5.4 percent of
the LSE, which bought the Milan bourse in 2007, making them the
LSE’s third and fourth biggest shareholders.

May 21, 2012

Premafin gets more time for Fondiaria merger talks

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian holding company Premafin (PRAI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has postponed a shareholder meeting originally scheduled for Monday to allow more time for its troubled Fondiaria-SAI (FOSA.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) unit to agree terms of a merger with rival insurer Unipol (UNPI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

The meeting, rescheduled for June 12, had been called to approve a Premafin capital increase reserved for Unipol as part of a rescue plan for struggling insurance group Fondiaria.

May 16, 2012

Monte Paschi could issue CoCo bonds to meet EBA goal

MILAN, May 16 (Reuters) – Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
, Italy’s No 3 lender, said it could issue contingent
convertible (CoCo) bonds to help plug a 3.3 billion euros ($4.2
billion) capital shortfall, acknowledging for the first time
that its existing plan to fill the gap may be inadequate.

CoCo bonds, which convert into equity if banks hit trouble,
have been used sparingly as they are viewed as costly to sell
for weaker lenders struggling to meet tougher capital
requirements set by the European Banking Authority last year.

May 15, 2012

Intesa’s risky loan provisions jump

MILAN, May 15 (Reuters) – Italy’s biggest retail bank Intesa
Sanpaolo reported a sharp rise in provisions for risky
loans in its first quarter, as the Italian economy plunged
deeper into recession.

The lender was forced to set aside 970 million euros for
doubtful loans over the quarter, a 43 percent rise compared to a
year earlier – reflecting deteriorating credit quality in the
country where Intesa earns 80 percent of its revenues.

May 10, 2012

Monte dei Paschi – a legacy of power and history

SIENA, May 10 (Reuters) – Monte dei Paschi di Siena was
lending money before Columbus discovered America, before the
Spanish Inquisition and before Henry VII defeated Richard III at
the Battle of Bosworth to become king of England.

With that kind of history behind it, one could be excused
for thinking that the bank and the powerful “foundation” that
controls it, have seen it all.

May 10, 2012

Monte Paschi executives say “surprised” by probe

SIENA, Italy, May 10 (Reuters) – Monte dei Paschi’s
top executives expressed surprise on Thursday at the
scale and timing of a judicial probe over the pricey acquisition
of smaller rival Antonveneta from Spain’s Santander,
agreed in 2007.

Bank Chairman Alessandro Profumo and CEO Fabrizio Viola,
both recently appointed to turn around the fortunes of the
world’s oldest lender, said the investigation would not delay
their restructuring plans.