June 30, 2014 / 8:02 PM / in 4 years

Algebris among top investors in Italy's Fineco bank

MILAN, June 30 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Algebris Investments will emerge as one of the top shareholders in Fineco bank, controlled by Italy’s No.1 lender UniCredit, following the online broker’s initial public offering, Algebris CEO Davide Serra said on Monday.

Fineco, Europe’s largest online broker, last week priced its IPO at 3.70 euros a share in an offer than was three times over-subscribed by investors.

The bank is due to debut on the Milan stock exchange this week, with an initial market capitalisation of 2.24 billion euros, Italy’s second-biggest market listing so far this year.

“We are going to emerge as one of the largest investors in Fineco,” Serra told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Milan. He decline to specify how large Algebris’ stake in Fineco would be.

“Fineco is the best online bank in the world and has a fair fee system with regards to clients,” he added.

Trying to capitalise on a more favourable investment sentiment towards southern Europe, a raft of Italian companies are tapping investors for cash through debt and share issues, including Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena’s successful 5-billion-euro capital increase that was concluded last week.

Serra said his fund had been in touch ahead of the cash call with the bank’s top investor, a Siena-based charitable banking foundation, for a possible purchase of the foundation’s stake in Monte dei Paschi, Italy’s third-largest bank by branches.

Talks stalled, however on valuation, Serra said. He did not say whether Algebris, which specialises in investments in the financial services sector, had taken a stake in Monte dei Paschi as part of the bank’s capital raising exercise.

Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia, writing by Lisa Jucca, editing by David Evans

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