Italy - Factors to watch on February 3

Mon Feb 3, 2014 2:36am EST

The following factors could affect Italian markets on Monday.

Reuters has not verified the newspaper reports, and cannot vouch for their accuracy. New items are marked with (*).

POLITICS

The head of Italy's state pension agency resigned on Saturday after a scandal involving conflict of interest and pension contribution irregularities that has embarrassed Enrico Letta's fragile coalition government.

ECONOMY

- Markit releases January PMI manufacturing (0843 GMT).

- Transport Ministry releases January car sales (1700 GMT).

- January state sector borrowing requirement data.

COMPANIES

ALITALIA, POSTE ITALIANE, BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in an interview with La Repubblica published on Saturday that the commission still does not fully understand what the plan to restructure Alitalia will be.

Regarding Italy's plan to sell a stake in the post office, Almunia said it was not important whether the operation was public or private, so long as commercial logic was applied.

Almunia said a capital hike at Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena must be carried out this year, in line with a restructuring plan the commission approved in 2013. He said he hoped discord between the bank's management and a foundation that is the main shareholder would not prevent the rescue of Europe's oldest bank.

BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI

Monte Paschi's main shareholder, the Monte Paschi Foundation, is most likely to either sell its stake in the Tuscan bank to one or more Italian banking foundations or a group of foreign investors, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Sunday, citing market rumours.

The newspaper said Abu Dhabi's Aabar and London-based Pamplona, backed by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, had been approached by the foundation and were open to considering the purchase.

The paper said these two foreign funds could be joined by a Mexican family investor.

INTESA SANPAOLO

Italy's biggest retail bank is working on plans to set up an internal bank bank to house a chunk of its 55 billion euros ($74 billion) of gross non-performing loans ahead of stress tests by the European Central Bank, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

ALITALIA, ETIHAD

Etihad Airways and Alitalia are in the final phase of due diligence for a possible investment by the Abu Dhabi carrier in the troubled Italian airline, the companies said on Sunday.

* Italian media say Etihad may buy up to 49 percent of Alitalia. Sorting out the issue of potential lay-offs remains a big hurdle.

* POPOLARE VICENZA, BANCA POPOLARE DELL'ETRURIA

Pop Vicenza Chairman Gianni Zonin confirms in an interview with Affari & Finanza it is interested in a possible acquisition of Veneto Banca, Banca Popolare dell'Etruria and Banca Popolare di Marostica. Zonin predicts Italy will have half the number of banks it has now in five years.

CDP RETI

The deadline for indications of interest in buying 49 percent of CDP Reti, the Italian strategic fund Cassa Depositi e Prestiti's vehicle to invest in power assets, has been pushed back to the middle of February, Corriere della Sera said on Saturday, without citing sources.

Corriere said the four leading bids so far came from Canadian fund Borealis, Australia's Ifm, Kuwaiti-controlled Wren House, and the State Grid of China.

LUXOTTICA

The world's biggest eyewear maker by revenue said on Friday it had closed the acquisition of online optician's showroom glasses.com from WellPoint Inc.

SORGENIA, VERBUND

The energy firm owned by holding company CIR has asked banks for financing of 80 million euros, Il Messaggero reported on Saturday, quoting a letter dated Jan. 29.

Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Sunday without naming sources that Austria's Verbund told Sorgenia's creditor banks it was not prepared to give money to the company or take on any financial obligations, after writing down its stake in the Italian company to zero in December.

VENETO BANCA

The bank will not be rushed into a hasty merger with one of its rivals, the lender's CEO told Il Sole 24 Ore, despite being asked by the Bank of Italy to do a deal to improve its capital base and strengthen the country's banking system.

ENEL GREEN POWER

Holds board meeting on preliminary FY results.

MEDIACONTECH

Starts reverse stock split.

RENO DE MEDICI

Holders of convertible savings shares can convert their holdings into ordinary shares in February.

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