Banco Popolare capital increase up to 1bn

Lender courting ECB approval of BPM merger

(ANSA) - Milan, March 21 - Banco Popolare is willing to increase its capital by 500 million to one billion euros in a bid to get the go-ahead from European oversight authorities for its proposed merger with Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM), sources said on Monday.
    The proposal is reportedly set out in the banks' reply to conditions laid down by the European Central Bank (ECB) for the merger last week. The ECB is expected to respond before the banks' respective board meetings on Tuesday. Meanwhile ANSA said Monday that financier Raffaele Mincione, BPM's biggest associate with 5.7% of the capital, is "substantially" in favour of the merger. Mincione has not taken an official position concerning the move, however. Shares in Banco Popolare rose by 5.92% to 7.25 euros at the close of trading Monday, claiming the title of best-performing stock on the Milan exchange's benchmark FTSE MIB index. BPM stocks also performed well, gaining 3.37%.
   

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