Atlante manager's CEO says Popolare di Vicenza may need more capital

VENICE, Italy, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Italian bank bailout fund Atlante may need to pump more money into Banca Popolare di Vicenza, the regional lender it rescued from bankruptcy, a top official running the fund said on Friday.

Atlante, backed by mostly private Italian financial institutions, acquired Popolare di Vicenza in may after the bank’s 1.5 billion euro initial share offering flopped. A few weeks later, the fund also took over rival Veneto Banca due to a failed 1 billion euro share issue.

Paolo Petrignani, chief executive of Atlante’s manager Quaestio, said the fund was not a long-term investor in the two banks and wanted to sell them quickly to recoup as much as possible the money that top financial institutions put into Atlante at the behest of the government.

Banks and funds have expressed interest in the two lenders but no talks are under way at present, he said. Prior to a sale, both banks would need to spin off their bad loans.

“Investors want a ‘cleaned-up’ bank,” he said.

Asked if Popolare di Vicenza may need more capital to write down its bad loans in order to sell them, he said: “All the different options are being studied at present.” (Reporting by Valentina Za)