Monte Paschi posts unexpected loss in Q3

MILAN Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:20am EST

MILAN Nov 14 (Reuters) - Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena , Italy's third biggest lender, posted an unexpected net loss in the third quarter of the year as writedowns on bad loans more than offset trading gains.

In contrast to larger peers UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, which reported better-than-expected third-quarter profits on Tuesday, Monte dei Paschi posted a net loss of 47.4 million euros ($60.25 million).

Net writedowns on bad loans reached 1.3 billion euros in the first nine months of the year, up 56 percent from a year earlier, weighed for 461 million euros on third quarter results.

The Tuscan lender, the world's oldest bank, had posted a net profit of 42.2 million euros a year ago but ended the first half of 2012 with a big loss of 1.6 billion euros because of hefty writedowns on its costly acquisition of smaller peer Antonveneta in 2007.

Monte dei Paschi is the only Italian bank - and only one of four lenders in Europe - that failed to meet tougher capital requirements set by the European Banking Authority. It requested 3.4 billion euros in state aid in June and is still awaiting approval by the European Commisison for the scheme to go ahead.

The bank was downgraded to junk by rating agency Moody's in October on the back of concerns that it may need more state support.

Seeking to turn around its fortunes, Monte dei Paschi has announced 4,600 job cuts and the closure of 400 branches.

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