Monte Paschi Posts Fourth-Quarter Loss on One-Time Charges

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, the Italian bank seeking a buyer to shore up its finances, reported a fourth-quarter loss after sharing the costs of winding down four of the country’s banks.

The net loss narrowed to 197 million euros ($219 million) from 4.2 billion euros a year earlier, when the Siena, Italy-based lender emerged with the biggest capital shortfall in Europe’s stress tests. The result beat the 251 million-euro average loss estimate from seven analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Viola is seeking to restore profitability and bolster the finances of Italy’s No. 3 bank by reducing risk and selling assets. After tapping investors for funds to replenish capital, Viola has been seeking a buyer under pressure from the European Central Bank.

Revenue rose to 1.1 billion euros from 1 billion euros. Provisions for bad loans in the quarter fell to 575 million euros from 5.5 billion euros a year earlier, the lender said.

The shares have lost about 52 percent this year as investors grew more concerned about Italian lenders’ credit quality. The slump continued even after Italy reached agreement with the European Union on a plan to let the country’s banks offload soured loans with a state guarantee.

Monte Paschi confirmed the bank’s common equity Tier 1 ratio on a transitional basis stood at 12 percent at the end of December.

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