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Popolare to buy out rest of Italease

BANCO Popolare SC, the first Italian bank to seek state aid during the financial crisis, plans to buy the rest of Banca Italease SpA for 179 million euro (US$227 million), delist the company and reorganize its businesses into smaller units, Bloomberg News reported.

Popolare will pay 1.5 euros per share for Italease - a 13.6-percent premium on the bank's closing price on Friday - if it can reach a 90-percent stake, it said yesterday. Popolare already owns 31 percent of Italease.

Popolare will buy stakes from Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna Scrl, Banca Popolare di Sondrio Scrl and Banca Popolare di Milano Scrl, who will also have stakes in the reorganized companies. One of the new companies will hold Italeases' non-performing loans.

Italease, whose management was forced to step down in 2007 because of a probe into derivatives contracts, said in a March 14 statement that its capital may fall below regulatory limits due to 850 million euros of writedowns last year.


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