1. Business
October 25, 2017

Italy’s oldest bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena trades below bailout price on return to the market

Italy’s oldest bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena has returned to the market after a 10-month hiatus.

Shares opened in Rome today at €4.10, before rising 15 percent to €4.73 in early trading.

However, shares remained well below the price — €6.49 a share — that the Italian government paid to bail out the country’s fourth-largest lender in July.

The bank’s current share price therefore represents a large paper loss for the country’s taxpayers.

Italy injected 3.85bn euros into Monte dei Paschi to keep it afloat, the biggest state intervention in the Italian banking industry since 1933.

An additional €1.5bn from the government will be used to buy shares assigned to retail bondholders involved in the burden sharing, taking the state’s stake in the lender to about 68 percent.

To gain approval for the bailout from EU authorities, Monte dei Paschi agreed to a broad restructuring plan — cutting 5,500 jobs and selling 26bn euros in bad debts.

The bank hopes to reach a net profit of more than 1.2bn euros by 2021.

Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan said in September that Monte dei Paschi is “on track” to meet the targets it needs to reach.

He told Bloomberg in an interview at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy:

Stock should be attractive because it is a stock related to a bank which is now very, very solid in terms of capital requirements and is being streamlined and made more efficient by the restructuring plan which is being implemented by the management.

“We expect Monte Paschi to be a healthy bank,” he added.

Banca Akros, a Milan-based broker, struck a similarly optimistic tone on Wednesday.

“After balance sheet de-risking and de-leveraging, the bank will try in the coming years to rebuild confidence and reach decent profitability,” he said.

Monte dei Paschi’s shares were suspended on December 23 after losing 87 percent of its market value in 2016.

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