March 8, 2018 / 5:36 PM / in a year

Carige's investor Mincione wants to raise stake, oust board: sources

FILE PHOTO: The Carige bank logo is seen in Rome, Italy, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Carige’s (CRGI.MI) shareholder Raffaele Mincione plans to boost his stake in the Italian lender from 5.4 percent and ask for the current board to be removed after he was denied a seat, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Mincione, an Italian financier, emerged in late February as one of the largest shareholders in Genoa-based Carige, which is restructuring under new management.

Confirming reports in the Italian press, the sources said Mincione would soon write to Carige to complain that its board no longer mirrors the bank’s shareholder base and would call for a general meeting to be held to appoint a new board.

Carige said late on Tuesday that it could not at present grant Mincione a seat on the 15-member board as he had requested.

Italian daily Il Messaggero reported on Thursday that Mincione had already increased his stake to 7 percent, adding his efforts to oust the board were welcomed by three international funds, which each owned 4.5-4.9 percent of the bank.

Carige pulled off a risky 544 million euro ($671 million) cash call in December thanks to support from its top shareholders and from investors that bought some of the bank’s assets.

Mincione, who in the past built a stake in rival Banca Popolare di Milano in order to have influence, is the largest shareholder in Carige after two local businessmen - Vittorio Malacalza, the top investor, with a 20.6 percent stake, and Gabriele Volpi, who owns 9.1 percent.

With its business concentrated in the north-western Liguria region, Carige is seen seeking a merger in an expected new round of consolidation in Italy’s fragmented banking sector.

Il Messaggero said Mincione backed the strategies of Chief Executive Paolo Fiorentino - a former UniCredit manager who arrived at Carige in mid-2017 after top investor Malacalza pushed out the previous CEO - and had met him a week ago in Milan.

Reporting by Andrea Mandala, writing by Valentina Za; Editing by Susan Fenton

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