MILAN, March 1 Italy's Banca Popolare di Sondrio
plans to launch a capital increase worth up to 350
million euros ($483 million), the small lender said on Saturday.
On Friday the board of the cooperative bank approved the
plan to strengthen its capital base by the end of this year to
meet new rules set by the Basel Committee of international
regulators, the bank said in a statement.
The bank, which is one of 15 Italian lenders under scrutiny
by the European Central Bank in a Europe-wide review of the
sector, said it expected its 2013 profit to show an increase
compared with the year before.
The rights issue, which also envisages the allocation of
free shares for up to 100 million euros, will have to be
approved by an extraordinary shareholders meeting to be convened
Banca Popolare di Sondrio is one of six Italian banks
planning to raise fresh capital in the face of mounting bad
debts for an overall amount of around 7 billion euros.
($1 = 0.7240 euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Toby Chopra)