Letta’s Bank of Italy Plan Held Up by Bundesbank Comment to ECB

The European Central Bank is considering a view expressed by the Bundesbank before issuing an opinion on Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s plan to create a market for shares in the Bank of Italy.

A spokesman for the ECB said today the German central bank submitted a comment. The ECB opinion had been expected “in a few days,” Italian Finance Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said on Nov. 27.

ECB President Mario Draghi said yesterday the bank’s opinion was circulating, and it was awaiting responses from the national central banks.

The plan would allow Italian commercial lenders, like UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, to sell their stock in the central bank to rivals abroad and pension funds. It would also make Bank of Italy shares more attractive to new investors by allowing the central bank to dip into statutory reserves to fund dividends to shareholders.