ITALY DAYBOOK: UniCredit Begins Share Sale, Rights Offering

Shareholders of UniCredit SpA will be able to buy stock from today through Jan. 27, and the rights will be tradable until Jan. 20. Shares in Italy’s biggest lender dropped 37 percent in the past three trading sessions after it priced a 7.5 billion-euro ($9.5 billion) rights offer at a discount. UniCredit will sell shares at 1.943 euros each, the Milan-based lender said Jan. 4.

Prime Minister Mario Monti said in an interview with France 24 television that the Italian banking system is “among the most robust.”

MARKETS: *Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB Index fell 0.8 percent to 14,645.64. *The Italian 10-year bond yield spread between 10-year Italian bonds and German bunds rose to 527.5 basis points.

EQUITIES: *Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl (PMI IM) may appoint Piero Montani as CEO, Il Sole 24 Ore reported. The supervisory board of the cooperative bank is scheduled to meet Jan. 10 to discuss the appointment. *Eni SpA (ENI): The National Iranian Oil Co. denied that it owes any money to Eni for crude shipments, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported, citing the company‘s head of international affairs. The Rome-based company continues its crude oil shipments from Iran as scheduled, Mohsen Qamsari said.

GOVERNMENT: *Europe should act on making its bailout fund operational “quickly” and adopt bonds to fund infrastructure investment in the region, Monti told Il Sole 24 Ore. *Italy will push ahead with market liberalizations and measures to boost economic growth, Economic Development Minister Corrado Passera told Corriere della Sera. Passera ruled out new taxes and said Italy has to cut expenses of the public administration and fight tax evasion instead.

WHAT TO WATCH: *Chrysler Group LLC is set to unveil the Dodge Dart sedan, the first Chrysler model based on a Fiat SpA (F IM) platform, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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