BRUSSELS Jan 23 A top Italian court has ruled
in favour of Franco-Belgian lender Dexia in a dispute
over an interest rate swap deal with an Italian province,
removing one hurdle to the bailed out lender's wind-down plan.
Dexia, almost entirely nationalised by France and Belgium,
said on Thursday that Italy's court of cassation, the top
appeals court, had declared inadmissible the case brought by the
province of Pisa against Dexia's Italian unit Dexia Crediop.
The court thereby upheld a decision of the council of state
and ordered Pisa to pay legal costs, Dexia said.
Dexia, whose future has a bearing on the budgets of Belgium
and France, has faced a series of legal challenges from public
bodies in France and Italy, and the latest ruling removes some
uncertainty around the group.
Dexia said the ruling confirmed the validity of the
derivative deal struck with Pisa, with a current nominal value
of 29 million euros ($40 million), and that Crediop had not
failed in its advisory duty.
The province of Pisa, it said, would have to pay 6 million
euros of interest including penalties due since June 2009.
Dexia, stripped of its businesses, has been reduced to a
portfolio of bonds and loans being wound down and funded by its
own borrowing, much of that state-guaranteed.
As an investment, Dexia is a mere penny stock, but it
matters because France, Belgium and to a lesser extent
Luxembourg are guaranteeing up to 85 billion euros of its
Belgium and France pumped 5.5 billion euros into Dexia at
the end of 2012, pushing their combined holding in the group to
more than 94 percent.
($1 = 0.7310 euros)
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Potter)