(Adds Q1 figures, details)
MILAN May 6 Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna
(BPER) became on Tuesday the latest Italian bank
planning to tap investors for cash, announcing a 750 million
euro ($1 billion) rights issue to strengthen its capital base.
Italy's sixth-largest bank by branches is one of 15 Italian
lenders scrutinised by the European Central Bank this year as
part of a check-up of the sector across the euro zone. They have
announced plans to raise nearly 11 billion euros in fresh
BPER said in a statement it would seek to carry out the
share sale by the end of July, to bring its best-quality Common
Equity Tier 1 capital under Basel III rules to 10.44 percent
against 8.75 percent at the end of March.
The ECB has set an 8 percent minimum threshold for bank
regulatory capital. BPER said that a Common Equity capital of
more than 10 percent would allow it to meet the best standards
on the market and help it go through the ECB's review without
Analysts say current market conditions are favourable to
equity- raising. Relatively cheap valuations for Italian banking
shares are luring cash-rich investors ready to bet on the
country's recovering economy.
In a sign of improving conditions, BPER on Tuesday posted an
attributable net profit of 28.3 million euros for the first
quarter, roughly twice the year-ago figure.
As Italian banks continue to face up to the damage that the
worst recession since World War II has inflicted on their
balance sheets, BPER said loan writedowns in the first quarter
stood at 211.8 million euros, up by nearly a third from the
first quarter of 2013. ($1 = 0.7177 Euros)
(Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Lisa Jucca)