(Refiles to add dropped word 'problem' in final paragraph)
ROME Jan 9 Italy's Senate approved on Thursday
a law setting a 3 percent limit on stakes in the central bank
that single investors can own, lowering a previous 5 percent
Italy has revalued the share capital of the central bank,
which had been stuck at a value set in the 1930s, and introduced
an ownership limit that would provide a capital boost for banks.
But a legal opinion by the European Central Bank has delayed to
2015 the impact on the capital of most lenders.
The law approved in the Senate says that only domestic
banks, insurers, pension funds and welfare agencies can own
shares in the central bank. The law now needs approval by the
lower house of parliament. Changes are unlikely.
Bank Intesa Sanpaolo is the main shareholder in the
Bank of Italy, with a 42 percent stake, followed by UniCredit
, with a 22 percent holding.
Troubled lenders Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
and Banca Carige hold 2.5 percent and 4 percent of the
central bank, respectively.
The Bank of Italy has said it wants to spread ownership
among more shareholders. It sees the concentration of ownership
as posing a problem of form, though not of substance.
(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Larry King)