MILAN Jan 15 Failure by Italy's troubled Banca
Monte dei Paschi di Siena to carry out a vital $4
billion capital hike later this year would bring down the
country's entire banking system, Chairman Alessandro Profumo
told Italian daily La Repubblica.
Profumo was speaking in an interview published a day after
he and CEO Fabrizio Viola agreed to stay on at the bank despite
being forced to delay the rights issue to mid-2014 by Monte dei
Paschi's top shareholder, a cash-strapped charitable foundation
with strong local political ties.
"I sincerely hope that the foundation can find the right
interlocutors. And I strongly hope that this can be done
quickly. Because, and I want to say it very clearly, if we fail
to carry out the capital increase, it's not just Monte Paschi
that is at risk, but the entire Italian banking system," Profumo
was quoted as saying.
Profumo also said he and Viola decided not to quit to
increase the chances of success of the capital increase, which
remains difficult but, without the two executives, "would have
The top manager also said the best option for the bank would
be for one or more financial investors to become shareholders.
(Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Mark Potter)