(Adds details on revaluation, background)
ROME Feb 3 The revaluation of the Bank of
Italy's share capital, approved by the country's parliament last
week, will be able to boost the core capital of Italian banks
only from 2015 and will not have a major effect, the central
bank's governor said.
"There is a benefit for the banks, but it's not a big
boost," the governor, Ignazio Visco, told reporters on Monday.
The parliament on Wednesday last week gave final approval
to a decree increasing the value of the Bank of Italy's share
capital, using its reserves, to 7.5 billion euros ($10 billion)
from 156,000 euros - a level that had not been changed since the
The decree also set a 3 percent ceiling on the stake that
the central bank's shareholders - mostly Italian banks - can
own. They must sell the rest and the decree allowed the Bank of
Italy, if necessary, to buy back from the banks the stakes
exceeding that ceiling.
Analysts say the only two banks whose capital could be
significantly boosted by the revaluation are Intesa Sanpaolo
and Unicredit, the two biggest shareholders
in the central bank, with stakes of 42 percent and 22 percent
However, Visco added that the increase in core capital - the
highest quality capital - for the banks owning a stake in the
central bank would not be automatic even in 2015.
It would be up to the Bank of Italy to allow lenders to
include their revalued stakes in their core capital, he said,
The Bank of Italy would only be available to buy back banks'
stakes exceeding the three percent limit after a three year
transitional period from now, Visco said.
The legislation approved last week had been opposed in
parliament by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which
tried to block it with filibustering tactics, objecting to what
it viewed as the "privatisation" of the central bank and an
unjustified "gift" to banks.
Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit could cash in up to 3.5
billion euros combined from the sale of their revalued stakes
exceeding the three percent limit, according to analyst
($1 = 0.7397 euros)
(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, writing by Gavin Jones; editing
by Francesca Landini and Anthony Barker)