(Updates with sale of stake by foundation)
By Andrea Mandala
MILAN, June 9 The top investor in Banca Carige
sold 10.86 percent of the Italian mid-sized bank on
Monday, days ahead of a planned 800 million euro ($1 billion)
share sale needed to boost the lender's capital base.
In a statement, the main banking foundation shareholder
Fondazione Carige said it had sold the stake for about 91.2
million euros to institutional investors.
Earlier on Monday a source close to the matter said the
foundation planned to sell 10.9 percent of the Italian mid-sized
bank by Tuesday.
The cash-strapped banking foundation, which until recently
controlled almost half of Carige, struggled last month to sell
an 11 percent stake in the scandal-hit lender, sending its
shares down 17 percent.
The foundation said on Monday after the sale it held around
19 percent of the bank whose cash call is expected to start next
The not-for-profit entity forced a delay in the rights issue
as it had no money to invest in it and hoped to find friendly
investors to buy part of its holding.
In May the foundation had to offer a larger-than-planned 20
percent discount to sell 11 percent of the Genoa-based bank on
the market. It had initially targeted selling 15 percent.
Traders said rising risk-aversion ahead of last month's
European parliamentary elections and concerns about the quality
of the asset had weighed on the sale.
Shares in Carige, whose long-standing former chairman is
under house arrest in a investigation into alleged fraud, closed
down 2.5 percent.
The foundation is hoping to raise enough to be able to buy
into the rights issue and keep its stake at 19 percent. Its
board is set to meet later this week to decide on the matter.
Analysts expect Carige to offer a discount of between 30 and
40 percent on the new shares as it strives to bring its core
capital above a minimum 8 percent threshold set by the European
Central Bank, in a review of banks across the euro zone this
Bigger rival Monte dei Paschi di Siena on Monday
launched a 5 billion euro cash call, pricing new shares with a
35.5 percent discount to the theoretical price of the stock when
excluding subscription rights.
Carige posted a 2013 net loss of 1.76 billion euros, hit by
loan-loss provisions and writedowns on the value of past
acquisitions in a balance-sheet clean-up under new management.
Giovanni Berneschi, ousted as the bank's chairman in 2013,
was arrested last month along with six others on suspicion they
had forced the bank's insurance unit to buy assets at an
inflated price for their own profit, prosecutors said.
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes, Writing by Valentina
Za; Editing by Paola Arosio, David Holmes and Cynthia Osterman)