MILAN May 12 Italy's bailed-out lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena posted a first quarter loss of 174 million euros, its eight quarterly loss in a row, as charges against loan defaults remained high despite signs of an economic recovery.
The loss compared with a loss of 100 million euros a year earlier.
Italy's No.3 bank by number of branches, which is in the middle of a tough restructuring that includes an upcoming 5-billion euro capital increase, said loan loss provisions stood at 477 million euros, down 1.6 percent from a year ago.
Bigger rival UniCredit earlier reported a 26 percent annual fall in the amount of money it set aside in the first quarter to cover for soured debts.
Monte dei Paschi's results were also hit by a one-off charge of 143 million euros linked to an increase in the cost for the bank of reimbursing 4.1 billion euros of state loans it received last year. The bank was the only Italian lender to need a taxpayer-funded bailout.
Monte dei Paschi, which says it is the world's oldest bank still in business, was hit hard by the euro zone's debt crisis and by a scandal over loss-making derivative trades carried out under its previous management. (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Lisa Jucca)