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Feb 18, 2012

Italy must rapidly implement, extend reforms: central bank

PARMA, Italy (Reuters) – Italy’s central bank governor urged the government on Saturday to rapidly implement planned reforms and take further steps to support the euro zone’s third-biggest economy, which he said would shrink by around 1.5 percent this year.

In a keynote speech in Parma, Bank of Italy chief Ignazio Visco said the country’s banking system was solid but high costs and recession meant lenders’ earnings prospects this year were “not favorable.”

Feb 17, 2012

Monte Paschi top shareholder races against time to find buyer

SIENA, Italy (Reuters) – The controlling shareholder in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Italy’s third biggest lender, has until early April at best to find a buyer for some of its stake in the bank if it wants to sell at a premium, sources close to the matter said.

The cash-strapped banking foundation that holds 49 percent of Monte dei Paschi, the world’s oldest bank, said this week it would sell up to 15 percent in a move allowing it to cut debt while retaining a blocking minority to veto any hostile moves. [ID:nL5E8DE86R]

Feb 14, 2012

Monte dei Paschi top shareholder to sell up to 15 pct stake

MILAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) – MILAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) -
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA’s core shareholder
will sell a stake of up to 15 percent in Italy’s No.3 lender, it
said on Tuesday, in a move that will allow it to cut debt but
still block any hostile bid.

Three sources familiar with the situation said the
cash-strapped Monte dei Paschi foundation, which has a 49
percent stake in the eponymous bank, including preference
shares, was in talks with domestic investors to quickly sell the
stake as it races to meet a deadline set by creditors to come up
with a debt-cutting plan.

Feb 14, 2012

Monte dei Paschi investor may sell up to 15 pct – sources

MILAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Banca Monte dei Paschi di
Siena SpA’s core shareholder is in talks with domestic
investors to quickly sell a stake of up to 15 percent in Italy’s
No.3 lender, a move that would allow it to cut its debt, but
still block any hostile bid, according to three sources close to
the situation.

Tuscany-based Monte dei Paschi, the world’s oldest bank, is
viewed as one of Italy’s weakest due to its thin capital base
and low profitability.

Jan 27, 2012

UniCredit capital hike nets 99.8 pct take-up

MILAN, Jan 27 (Reuters) – UniCredit (CRDI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) closed
its 7.5 billion euro ($9.7 billion) rights issue on Friday with
a 99.8 percent take-up, allowing Italy’s largest bank by assets
to meet tougher capital requirements being imposed on the euro
zone’s lenders.

UniCredit was the first European lender to tap the market
after the European Banking Authority told banks they needed to
find 115 billion euros to withstand the region’s sovereign debt

Jan 20, 2012

Italy risks worst environmental disaster in 20 years

ROME (Reuters) – Italy risks its worst environmental disaster in more than two decades if the 2,400 tonnes of thick fuel in the capsized Costa Concordia pollutes one of the Mediterranean’s most prized and pristine maritime reserves.

Seven days after the 114,500 tonne liner capsized off the Tuscan coast, its vast wreck is shifting precariously on an undersea ledge, threatening to slide further and undermining plans to pump the oil out safely.

Jan 20, 2012

UniCredit set to succeed with share sale

MILAN (Reuters) – UniCredit (CRDI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is set to meet the tougher capital requirements being imposed on euro zone banks thanks to its 7.5 billion-euro ($9.7 billion) share sale, with Friday the last day of trading in rights to the heavily discounted new shares.

Some 31 European banks must tell their national regulators by Friday how they plan to fill the 115 billion-euro collective hole in their balance sheets as part of moves to tackle the continent’s sovereign debt crisis.

Jan 19, 2012

Tape shows cruise ship crew denying emergency

ROME (Reuters) – A crew member of the capsized Costa Concordia told the Italian coastguard the vessel had only suffered a power outage and there was no emergency onboard, even after passengers had put on life vests, according to a new recording aired on Thursday.

News channel Sky TG 24, which broadcast the tape, said it was the first radio conversation between the coastguard and the cruise ship after the liner, carrying 4,200 passengers and crew, hit a rock off Tuscany’s coast on Friday night and keeled over.

Jan 17, 2012

Entertainers outnumbered sailors on doomed liner

MILAN (Reuters) – The doomed Italian liner which capsized off the coast of Italy was less a ship than a seaborne version of a Las Vegas hotel and most of the 1,023-strong crew were there to run the bars, swimming pools, theatres and casino.

A mixed group of around 40 nationalities with Filipino and Peruvian waiters, English dancers and Spanish musicians, at least two thirds of the crew were aboard to entertain and take care of the passengers, heavily outnumbering qualified seamen.

Jan 13, 2012

UniCredit set for 90-95 pct rights take-up – source

MILAN, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Italian lender UniCredit’s
(CRDI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) 7.5 billion euros ($9.6 billion) capital increase will
likely be taken up by 90-95 percent of shareholders, a source at
one of the deal’s 27 underwriters said.

UniCredit’s deeply discounted rights issue CRDI_r.MI,
designed to help it meet tougher European Union capital
requirements, has been fully underwritten by a consortium led by
Mediobanca (MDBI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) and BOfA Merrill Lynch.