EU Commission clears Banif 1.1 bln euro recap plan for now

BRUSSELS Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:45am EST

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BRUSSELS Jan 21 (Reuters) - The European Commission approved Portuguese bank Banif's 1.1-billion-euro ($1.46 billion) rescue plan on Monday on condition Portuguese authorities present a restructuring scheme for the lender by the end of March.

Portugal said on Jan. 11 it would recapitalise Banco Internacional do Funchal (Banif) via a 700-million-euro subscription of shares and 400 million euros in hybrid securities to help the bank comply with capital requirements set by the Portuguese banking regulator.

"Portugal urgently needs to work out an in-depth restructuring plan, refocusing the bank on its core activities in Madeira and the Azores and leading to a significant downsizing of its operations," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

($1 = 0.7524 euros) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Rex Merrifield)

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