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Monti Government Mulls Delaying Monte Paschi Bailout

Mario Monti’s caretaker government is considering postponing a 3.9 billion-euro ($5.1 billion) bailout for Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, leaving the final decision on the payout to the next government, two people familiar with the discussions said.

According to the decree approved by Monti’s cabinet in December, the payment is set to be completed by March 1. Under the government’s rescue plan, Monte Paschi will sell securities, dubbed “Monti” bonds, to the government with a 9 percent coupon that may rise to as much as 15 percent.

A decision whether to go ahead with the capital injection may be made as soon as today, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Government and Monte Paschi officials didn’t answer several phone calls seeking comment. The stock fell as much as 4 percent in Milan trading.

Italian elections this week produced a hung parliament, with comedian Beppe Grillo’s anti-austerity movement winning more than 25 percent of the popular vote, compared with the 10.5 percent of the votes received by Monti’s coalition in the lower house. Grillo opposed the current bailout plan, arguing that a parliamentary commission should investigate the bank’s dealings. A delay may prompt a review of the terms, said Fabrizio Bernardi, a Milan-based analyst at Fidentiis Equities…”

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