Top shareholder in Banca Carige working to halve stake in bank

GENOA, Italy, April 30 Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:28am EDT

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GENOA, Italy, April 30 (Reuters) - The banking foundation that is top shareholder in Banca Carige is awaiting clearance from Italy's Treasury to cut its stake to 19 percent from 43.4 percent at present, the chairman of the not-for-profit entity said on Wednesday.

The Carige foundation until recently controlled more than 46 percent of the Genoa-based lender but is seeking to reduce its holding ahead of an 800 million euro rights issue because it has no money to invest in it.

Foundation Chairman Paolo Momigliano said on Wednesday that a request to lower the stake to as little as 19 percent had been submitted to the Treasury about 20 days ago.

"I believe that within 15 days we will begin to get near to a solution (on the stake sale)," Momigliano told reporters on the sidelines of a shareholder meeting.

Earlier this year the foundation forced the bank to delay the much-needed share sale to June as it looks for friendly investors to sell part of its holding to.

Asked about possible co-investors in the bank, Momigliano said: "The adviser is at work. When it comes up with names we'll evaluate them." (Reporting by Andrea Mandal, writing by Valentina Za, editing by Stephen Jewkes)