ROME Nov 25 Italy's banks want the country's
central bank to press ahead with an upward revaluation of its
share capital as long as they can declare their own stakes in
the bank as regulatory capital in their 2013 accounts, the head
of banking lobby ABI said.
The Bank of Italy is raising the value of its share capital
to as much as 7.5 billion euros ($10 billion) from 156,000 euros
at present as a way of reaping more tax revenue for the state
and helping stretched lenders shore up their own finances.
At present, the Bank of Italy does not allow commercial
banks to count their stakes as regulatory capital, but this is
expected to change once the revaluation is complete and the
stakes become assets for sale.
The central bank has hired advisers to re-assess its value,
which has been frozen since the 1930s.
The panel of independent experts has said it could be worth
between 5 billion and 7.5 billion euros based on the net present
values of future dividends. It also suggested a less
concentrated ownership structure.
The government expects to reap 1.2 billion euros in capital
gains taxes from the banks when the value of their stakes grows.
"If by December they recognise the capital boost then I can
recognise the tax impact," ABI President Antonio Patuelli told a
seminar at the weekend. "The time is ripe for this operation,
which should produce its effects by New Year's Eve."
The Treasury initially expected the revaluation to affect
bank capital and tax revenue only from 2014. If it is brought
forward, the banks will be able to include its effects in
balance sheet data that the European Central Bank will use in an
upcoming health check of the industry.
Italy's government is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss a
legal decree allowing the capital revaluation.
Patuelli said the banking industry expected a tax rate of
16 percent and a 5 percent ownership cap on the central bank's
stakes held by lenders, which would force some banks to reduce
Italy's top two lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo and
UniCredit, own 42 percent and 22 percent respectively.
"I have reason to be confident the decree will include the
revaluation so that the stakes become attractive and sellable to
(banking) foundations and other parties under national
supervision," Patuelli said.
Financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported that the central
bank may buy out some of the stakes held by the banks as a
temporary arrangement before a proper market for such assets
The approval of the decree, initially due last week, has
been postponed as the European Central Bank must first give a
($1 = 0.7394 euros)
(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; writing by Valentina Za; editing
by Tom Pfeiffer)