December 28, 2012 / 6:26 PM / in 5 years

Monte dei Paschi completes sale of Biverbanca stake

MILAN, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena , Italy’s third-biggest bank, has completed the sale of a 60 percent stake in regional bank Biverbanca to Cassa di Risparmio di Asti for 209 million euros ($276 million).

The bank is trying to sell off assets to help to strengthen its capital base. Other assets for sale include its leasing activities and consumer credit unit

Monte dei Paschi said on Friday it would earn 25 million euros net from the Biverbanca sale, which would help increase its capital ratio, a measure of a bank’s financial strength.

It first announced the sale in June. Both Biverbanca and Cassa di Risparmio di Asti are based in northern Italy.

Monte dei Paschi was forced to ask for government aid in June after failing to meet tougher capital rules set by European regulators.

The government bailout scheme was approved last week by the European Commission and is currently before the Italian parliament. Under the scheme, the bank will issue 3.9 billion euros of bonds to the treasury.

For Breakingviews on Monte dei Paschi click ($1 = 0.7564 euros) (Reporting by Antonella Ciancio. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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