Italy's MontePaschi loses 3 billion euros in 2012

Losses at ailing Italian bank MontePaschi greater than feared at over 3 billion euros for 2012

Associated Press

MILAN (AP) -- The troubled Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena on Thursday reported higher-than-expected losses of 3.17 billion euros ($4 billion) for 2012 as it was hurt by a trading scandal and bad loans.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast losses of 2.2 billion euros. The results were only a mild improvement from the 2011 losses of 4.7 billion euros.

The bank said it set aside more than 2.67 billion euros in 2012 to cover possible loan losses and booked one-off restructuring costs of 311 million euros. To save cash, the bank has cut 1,000 jobs with an additional 600 expected by July, and closed 200 branches.

The world's oldest-running bank, founded in 1472, has been embroiled in a trading scandal that has cost it some 730 million euros and forced it to raise the amount of state aid it was seeking to keep afloat. MontePaschi, as it is informally known, received 3.9 billion euros in state aid earlier this year.

The bank has announced it plans to sue former chairman Giuseppe Mussari and former general manager Antonio Vigni, along with Nomura and Deutsche Bank, over the two costliest trades in the scandal. The board is seeking to recoup damages, but has not specified how much.

Italian police have arrested the bank's former head of finance, Gianluca Baldassarri, for his alleged role in concealed derivative trades. Baldassarri is accused of obstructing regulators regarding the derivative trades.

MontePaschi shares closed even at 0.185 euros before the results were released.

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