(Adds details on BNL's SIA stake, FSI statement)
MILAN Dec 2 Italy's two biggest banks,
UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, said they
would improve their core capital next year by a combined 290
million euros ($395 million) from the agreed sale of their
stakes in payment services group SIA.
The deal, which values SIA at 765 million euros, comes as
lenders across the euro zone move to sell assets to strengthen
their balance sheets ahead of an industry-wide check-up of banks
in the euro zone by the European Central Bank.
The two lenders together with Monte dei Paschi di Siena
and BNP Paribas's Italian unit BNL have
agreed to sell a combined 59.3 percent stake in SIA to Italian
state-backed fund FSI, infrastructure fund F2i and asset manager
Intesa will reap the greater benefit with an expected net
capital gain of around 150 million euros that will add 0.06 to
0.09 percentage points to its common equity ratio calculated
using so-called Basel III rules, it said in a statement.
UniCredit said separately that a net gain of 140 million
euros from selling 20 percent of SIA would have a Basel III
common equity impact of around 0.03 percentage points.
Monte Paschi, which is the weakest of Italy's top three
banks and is set to launch a rights issue of up to 3 billion
euros early next year to repay state loans, said the sale of its
5.8 percent SIA stake would yield a gross 37 million euros.
BNL is selling a 4.5 percent holding.
The deal turns Italy's FSI into SIA's main shareholder with
a 42.3 percent stake, for an overall investment of 281 million
euros including a 77 million-euro loan.
The fund said in a separate statement it would promote SIA's
growth possibly through mergers with domestic or international
rivals with an eventual aim of listing it on the stock exchange.
Intesa and UniCredit said they would each retain a 4 percent
stake in SIA.
(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Greg Mahlich)