(Specifies the swap ratio remains the same if new shares not
issued at discount)
MILAN Feb 17 Italy's Banco Popolare
said on Monday the share swap ratio in its merger with unit
Credito Bergamasco (Creberg) would remain at 11.5 of its own
shares for each Creberg share, providing a planned cash call is
not issued at a discount.
Italy's fourth-largest bank decided to review the share swap
ratio after last month announcing a surprise capital increase
worth up to 1.5 billion euros ($2.1 billion) aimed at repairing
its balance sheet.
In a statement on Monday, Banco Popolare said that if new
shares in its rights issue were not issued at a discount - and
based on a Feb. 14 share price of 1.457 euros - the share swap
ratio would remain at 11.5.
It said such a ratio implicitly valued Creberg at 16.76
euros per share.
The final swap ratio will be set once the terms and
conditions of the rights issue have been decided, the bank said.
Banco Popolare has previously said the merger with Creberg
will help boost its core capital by more than 50 basis points.
Like other lenders, Banco Popolare has been hit by losses on
non-performing loans which have continued to undermine profits
at banks even as the country's longest post-war recession begins
Banco Popolare's rights issue lifts to about 6 billion euros
the total being raised by 15 Italian banks ahead of a check-up
by the European Central Bank (ECB) later this year.
($1 = 0.7298 euros)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by David Evans)