MILAN Jan 22 The foundation that controls Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena has received no offer for its 33.5 stake in the lender from other Italian banking foundations, its head told an Italian newspaper.
Reports that other foundations may step in to help the Monte dei Paschi foundation sell all or part of its stake have lifted shares in Monte Paschi on various occasions over the past two months.
"We belong to this world and (other banking foundations) are obvious partners, but we've never received any specific offers and we never sat down to talk to them," Antonella Mansi, chairwoman of the Monte dei Paschi foundation, told La Stampa in its Wednesday edition.
The foundation forced the bank last year to delay a 3-billion euro cash call until mid-2014 to gain more time to sell down its stake in the bank to pay back debts.
The foundation is having a hard time finding buyers for its stake in Italy's third-largest lender ahead of the rights issue.
Mansi declined to comment on reports that the foundation may be selling small packets of Monte Paschi shares on the market and reiterated that its preference was for a strategic partner.
"It would give stability to the bank and its shareholder structure. We'll see whether it will be possible. We are working," she said.
Banking foundations became key shareholders in leading Italian banks following the privatisation of publicly-owned banks and the transformation of savings banks into limited companies starting in the early 1990s. (Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)