April 17, 2009 / 12:53 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Italy's UBI Banca should see Q1 profit-chairman

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BERGAMO, Italy, April 17 (Reuters) - UBI Banca (UBI.MI) should post a profit in the first quarter, the Italian bank’s management board chairman Emilio Zanetti said on Friday.

He also said UBI Banca, Italy’s fifth-biggest bank by number of branches, could issue a convertible bond of up to 640 million euros ($839 million) by the end of June. The bank’s board has discussed issuing such a bond.

“I think there will a profit in the first quarter,” Zanetti told reporters on the sidelines of the Italcementi SpA ITAI.MI shareholders’ meeting. Zanetti is a board member of the cement maker.

UBI Banca posted a net profit of 69 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2008, down 89 percent from the preceding quarter. Net interest income rose 27 percent to 2.98 billion euros.

Asked if the bank could take part in a government crisis-fighting programme to back bonds issued by banks and aimed at boosting their capital, Zanetti said: “We’re not excluding anything. For the time being, however, we do not think that move is necessary.”

Shares in UBI Banca were up 3.6 percent at 10.04 euros at 1246 GMT, in line with the DJ Stoxx European banks index .SX7P.

Italy, the euro currency zone’s third-biggest economy, entered recession in spring 2008 and the economy shrank 1 percent last year. Economists polled by Reuters last week forecast a 3.7 percent contraction in 2009. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Writing by Ian Simpson) ($1=.7628 Euro)

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