Monte Paschi up 5 percent after top investor says wants cash call delayed
MILAN (Reuters) - Shares in Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) rose more than 5 percent in early trade on Monday after the top investor in the Italian bank said it would vote against a planned rights issue unless its launch was delayed until at least May 12.
The bank was planning to start the capital increase in January but its top shareholder Fondazione Monte dei Paschi wants more time as it is looking to sell all or part of its 33.5 percent stake in the bank to pay back around 350 million euros ($478.94 million) of debt.
The foundation said on Friday it would propose delaying the cash call at a meeting with other shareholders on December 27.
The stock has fallen heavily over the past two weeks as investors sold shares ahead of the approaching capital increase which is expected to be priced at a significant discount.
"In the current environment it is not easy to decipher and anticipate the moves of the bank's top managers, though they had given detailed reasons for wanting to swiftly proceed with the capital increase at the beginning of 2014," broker ICBPI said in a note.
By 0815 GMT shares in Monte Paschi rose 4.3 percent, leading gains on Milan's main stock index .FTMIB. ($1 = 0.7308 euros)
(Reporting by Valentina Za, editing by Isla Binnie)
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