Italy Just Bailed Out The World's Oldest Surviving Bank

Some people know Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena as one of the biggest banks in Italy (lately best known for being either halted down, about 90% of the time, or up, the remainder) with 3,000 branches, 33,000 employees and 4.5 million customers. Others know it for being the world's oldest surviving bank, founded in 1472 by the magistrate of the then city-state of Siena. Most will henceforth know it as the first Italian bank bailed out in 2012 using the old 2009 ponzi scheme known as "Tremonti bonds", whereby the bank sells bonds to a guaranteed buyer - the Italian government - receiving critical cash to continue operating in exchange for, well, promises, and sharing its balance sheet with the much more "viable" sovereign, whose bonds were trading above 6% at last check. The initial bailout bid: €1 billion in Tremonti bonds with speculation the number will be realistically up to €4 billion. The final number: much, much higher, but it likely won't be known for at least days. Which incidentally is an event which was largely expected. Recall on June 13 we wrote: "Forget Three Months: Italy May Have Two Weeks Tops, As "It Already Is Where Spain Is Heading." It is now 13 days later and the bailouts have begun.

The chart of BMPS.IM says it all. Luckily the final outcome will be resolved in under 20 cents.

And from Bloomberg.

Italy has approved a decree to help banks to boost capital through the sale of bonds to the government, as Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA prepares to raise at least 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) using the securities, a government official said.


Ministers passed the measure at a Cabinet meeting in Rome today, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public yet. The legislation probably will be similar to the decree approved in 2009 that allowed lenders to issue so-called Tremonti bonds, which were named after then- Treasury Minister Giulio Tremonti, a person familiar with the matter said earlier.


Monte Paschi, which is among Italian lenders that must raise capital as part of Europe’s plan to end the sovereign-debt crisis, has a capital shortfall of 3.3 billion euros, according to the European Banking Authority. The bank must also repay 1.9 billion euros of state aid provided in 2009.


Monte Paschi was one of four lenders which got state aid under the previous law. Banco Popolare SC received 1.45 billion euros, Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl obtained 500 million euros and Banca Piccolo Credito Valtellinese Scarl got 200 million euros.


“The government measure is clearly being done to help Monte Paschi,” said Angelo Drusiani, who manages about 3 billion euros at Banca Albertini Syz & C. in Milan. “I don’t think other banks need to apply for these securities to raise capital,” he said.


Monte Paschi fell 3.7 percent to 19.39 cents before being halted for volatility in Milan, giving the bank a market value of 2.4 billion euros. The stock has dropped 23 percent this year, compared with a 3 percent decline of the Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index.


Monte Paschi’s board meets today to approve a plan that includes capital measures to comply with the European Banking Authority’s targets. The Siena, Italy-based bank may sell at least 1 billion euros of bonds to the government as part of its plan, said a person yesterday. The bank may also restructure the old issue, said the person.


The lender has already covered more than 2 billion euros of its capital shortfall through the conversion of hybrid bonds and the implementation of new internal risk models, Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Viola said last month.


Monte Paschi’s first-quarter profit dropped 61 percent to 54.5 million euros after setting aside more money for bad loans, it said May 15. Loan-loss provisions in the quarter rose 58 percent to 434 million euros.