MILAN, March 26 Veneto Banca, one of 15 Italian
banks under scrutiny in a euro zone-wide health check, will
issue shares for 500 million euros ($687 million) and convert
350 million euros worth of bonds into stock to boost its capital
base, the bank's top executive said.
In an interview with Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore,
Chief Executive Vincenzo Consoli also said the loss-making bank,
which analysts say could be a takeover target for local rival
Banca Popolare di Vicenza, would prefer to remain
"Our industrial plan has a stand-alone perspective. We want
to remain independent," said Consoli. "But we have the European
Central Bank's asset quality review ahead of us, with its many
uncertainties. We will see what happens."
The capital-boosting measures would help Veneto Banca lift
its Common Equity Tier 1 ratio, a closely watched measure of a
bank's financial strength, from 7 percent to 10.3 percent by
July and above the lender's current target of 9.5 percent.
If the bank were to sell its around 70 percent in Banca
Intermobiliare, this would add another 0.7 percent to
its Common Equity Tier 1, Consoli said.
The European Central Bank, which is examining the quality
and quantity of assets held by euro zone banks, has said lenders
must set aside capital equivalent to at least 8 percent of their
"Nearly all of Italy's largest banks have announced plans
for a capital hike over the last few months," said Consoli. "We
have carried out a careful assessment and in the end we have
decided to take this step. We could not be left out."
Italian lenders, including Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
and Banco Popolare, have unveiled plans to
tap investors for more than 7 billion euros in the coming
Consoli said Veneto Banca planned to launch the share issue
early in June with the aim of closing it by July-August.
The conversion of the bond would take place at the end of
June, he added.
The manager said the bank would define the valuations for
both transactions at a board meeting on April 8.
($1 = 0.7258 Euros)
(Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Erica Billingham)