MontePaschi puts derivative losses at $987 million

February 7, 2013 - 10:30 AM
Italy Monte Paschi

Former Monte dei Paschi di Siena General Manager Antonio Vigni, right, is chased by journalists upon his arrival at the courthouse building, in Siena, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. Italian financial police are carrying out seizures of a total of €40 million ($54 million) as part of an investigation into embattled bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Prosecutors in Siena have been questioning former managers in recent days over allegations that the bank overpaid for the Italian bank Antonveneta, which it purchased for euro9.3 billion from Spanish bank Santander in 2007. The bank, informally known as Montepaschi, also is being investigated for three trades that are expected to cost it hundreds of millions of euros. Established in 1472, the bank is the world's oldest running financial institution. Its board met for six hours Wednesday but ended the session without releasing a statement. (AP Photo/Riccardo Sanesi, LaPresse)

MILAN (AP) — Embattled Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena put the losses from three derivative trades that were concealed for years at €730 million ($987 million), and assured investors on Thursday that they should not mount.

"There are no more Santorinis," CEO Fabrizio Viola told a conference call, referring to the nickname of one of the trades.

Viola said two of the transactions were transformed last month, which will help curb losses thanks to favorable trends in bond markets. The third had been previously restructured. All three had remained hidden for years until new management took over in 2012.

The losses, which will be included in balance sheets to be released in March, were in line with expectations. The bank has sought €3.9 billion in government aid, including €500 million specifically earmarked to absorb the impact of the trades. The remainder is a capital buffer to help it deal with high exposure to Italian sovereign debt, whose value has been volatile over the past year.

Shares in the world's oldest running bank, established in 1472, gained more than 8 percent to €0.25 in Thursday trading.

Chief financial officer Bernardo Mingrone said the bank will need an additional year, until 2016, to reimburse the state aid, due to the additional €500 million.

Viola said there has been no flight of customer deposits from the bank and that he was not "distracted" by speculation over possible mergers.

"We are strongly engaged in realizing a demanding industrial plan, made more demanding by the recent events," he said.

Prosecutors in Siena have been questioning former managers in recent days over allegations that the bank overpaid for the Italian bank Antonveneta, which it purchased for €9.3 billion from Spanish bank Santander in 2007.