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Banco BPM plays down possible interest for Monte dei Paschi - CEO

VERONA, Italy (Reuters) - Italy's third biggest lender, Banco BPM, could be interested in tie-ups with banks close to its home turf in the north of the country, its CEO said on Saturday in comments that appeared to play down a possible deal with Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

Asked whether the bank, which is based in the Lombardy and Veneto regions, could consider a merger with Tuscan lender Monte dei Paschi, which was bailed out in 2017 and is 70 percent owned by the state, Giuseppe Castagna said on Saturday: "We look more at banks that are close to our territory."

(Reporting by Andrea Mandala, editing by Silvia Aloisi)