September 19, 2018 / 12:39 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Italian court allows disputed list of Carige board nominees-sources

(Adds second source, details)

By Valentina Za and Andrea Mandala

MILAN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - An Italian judge has ruled to allow a disputed list of candidates for the board of Carige , two sources close to the matter said, as uncertainty grows over the future of the troubled lender.

The bank must elect a new board after top investor Vittorio Malacalza - a local businessman who has spent around 400 million euros since 2015 to build a 27.6 percent stake - fell out with CEO Paolo Fiorentino.

Shareholders in Carige meet on Thursday to appoint the new board and attempt to resolve a governance crisis that has irked European Central Bank supervisors.

Genoa-based Carige is Italy’s last remaining large problem bank. It has raised 2.2 billion euros from investors in three successive cash calls since 2014, when it failed Europe-wide stress tests, and it is still seen as fragile.

The ECB has told the bank to fill a gap in its second-tier capital by the end of the year or embark on a merger with a stronger peer.

Malacalza, who has pushed out two former CEOs in the last three years, wants to replace Fiorentino with UBS banker Fabio Innocenzi.

Malacalza had asked a court in Genoa to ban a list of board nominees presented by three rival shareholders who are trying to keep Fiorentino in his job and want to steer Carige towards a merger.

The sources said the court had ruled to allow the list at Thursday’s meeting, but the voting rights of the three shareholders who back it are capped at 9.99 percent - below their actual 15.2 percent stake.

The ruling mirrors a decision the Bank of Italy who has said the three investors lack the authorisation needed to build a holding bigger than 10 percent in a bank or exert a significant influence over it.

The sources flagged the risk of a fragmented board resulting from Thursday’s meeting, potentially prolonging the bank’s governance woes.

After resorting to asset sales and a debt conversion to pull through its last cash call in late 2017, Carige must fill a gap in its second-tier capital because it has failed to place a subordinated bond with investors this year.

$1 = 0.8552 euros Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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