Exclusive: Investors snub Italian bank Monte Paschi's share offer - sources
By Paola Arosio and Silvia Aloisi
MILAN (Reuters) - Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI: Quote) has all but failed to pull off a last-ditch rescue plan and a state bailout for the ailing Italian bank now looks inevitable, sources said on Wednesday.
Confirming an earlier Reuters report, the bank said late on Wednesday it had failed to secure an anchor investor for its offer of new shares, which has just hours left to run.
Two sources close to the matter told Reuters this had in turn dissuaded other institutional investors from supporting this part of the 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion) rescue plan.
The bank needs to raise the money in the share offer and a separate debt-for-equity swap by the end of this month to avert being wound down by regulators, a move that would rock confidence in the euro zone's fourth-largest banking sector.
The Italian government is expected to step in this week, possibly as early as Thursday, to bail out the Tuscan lender, Italy's third biggest bank and the world's oldest.
Monte dei Paschi had pinned its hopes on Qatar's sovereign wealth fund investing 1 billion euros in its cash call, but that option is no longer on the table, said the sources familiar with the progress of the rescue plan.
"The idea that Qatar could be an anchor investor has vanished and without an anchor investor there is no demand from anyone else," one source said.
Monte dei Paschi, recently judged the weakest of the euro zone's major banks, declined to comment. Continued...