MILAN, June 23 (Reuters) - Italy’s Banco Popolare is considering delaying a sale of bad debt until after the summer since the offers it has received are not satisfactory, a source close to the matter said on Monday.
“There’s some distance between offer and demand even if the offers are there. The issue could be taken up again after the summer when Italy’s banks have completed the ECB (European Central Bank) health check,” the source said.
Italy’s No. 4 lender has put on the block a majority stake in its Release unit, which owns and manages soured loans and real estate assets with a gross value of 3.2 billion euros ($4.3 billion).
“The bank doesn’t need to sell now after the recent capital increase,” the source added.
In April, Banco Popolare completed a 1.5-billion-euro share sale to boost its financial strength in preparation for the European asset review.
The Bank of Italy has repeatedly urged lenders to shed non-performing loans which force banks to set aside precious cash to cover possible losses.
Release had a book value of around 260 million euros as of end-2013.
$1 = 0.7357 Euros Reporting by Andrea Mandala, writing by Stephen Jewkes