Italy began the process of selling Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA by hiring advisers as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni seeks to maximize the value of the state’s controlling stake.
(Bloomberg) — Italy began the process of selling Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA by hiring advisers as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni seeks to maximize the value of the state’s controlling stake.
The Finance Ministry will select legal and financial advisers to help in the sale, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. The disposal can be done in one or more stages, through a public offer or through extraordinary operations, including a combination, according to the Treasury.
“The goal of the ministry is the full valorization of its holding, achieved in the interest of the bank and all of its shareholders,” according to the statement.
Rome has long struggled to sell the controlling stake in Siena, Italy-based Paschi. Two years ago, the previous government tried and failed to combine Paschi with UniCredit SpA. But progress made under Chief Executive Officer Luigi Lovaglio, who implemented a turnaround after years of restructuring, has made Paschi more appealing to investors.
Italy is seeking to merge Paschi with a similar-sized peer to create a new hub which would retain the world’s oldest banking brand, Bloomberg reported last month. Ahead of such a deal, which would take time and need a buyer, the government is planning the sale of a minority Paschi stake of as much as 15% on the market, people with knowledge of the matter have said.
Selling a minority stake would buy the government time and show it’s committed to complying with a European Commission for the state to exit Monte Paschi this year or next, the people said.
Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said in late September that Monte Paschi could form Italy’s third-biggest bank through a merger with a peer.
Read more: Italy Pushes Big Monte Paschi Merger Despite Market Doubts
Founded in 1472, Monte Paschi has undergone years of painful efforts to turn its business around. The bank was first bailed out in 2009 after it was hit by souring loans and derivatives deals that backfired. In the following decade it struggled to deliver consistent profit, given limited room for maneuver under terms the European Union set in exchange for nationalization in 2017.
(Updates with details from statement starting in second paragraph.)
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