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Tough times at Monte dei Paschi di Siena


Tough times at Monte dei Paschi di Siena

Italy’s oldest bank has unveiled a painful restructuring plan.

One day after it was forced to take state aid, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena said it would be looking to new investors in seeking to raise up to one billion euros in fresh capital over the next five years.

The bank has been hit hard by its 25 billion-euro exposure to Italian government bonds, proportionally higher than other Italian banks.

Under its restructuring plan Italy’s third biggest lender said it aims to slash its loan book, close 400 branches and cut 4,600 jobs, and also estimated it would sell 1.5 billion euros of new special bonds to the Italian treasury, against a maximum of two billion euros approved by the government on Tuesday.

That will bring total state support to the bank to 3.4 billion euros, including similar bonds that Monte Paschi already sold to the state in 2009. The bank pledged to almost entirely pay them back by the end of its 2012-2015 plan.

The bank also aims to cut 15 percent of its workforce and more than 10 percent of its branch network with a view to reducing costs by 565 million euros by 2015.

Its exposure to Italian government bonds will be gradually phased out and the consumer and corporate loan-to-deposit ratio cut to 110 percent from 131 percent as it seeks to repair its balance sheet.