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Report: Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena in talks to sell €2.1B of bad debt

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA could soon finalize the sale of €2.1 billion worth of bad loans — called Project Merlino — to Banca IFIS SpA and Credito Fondiario SpA, among other investors, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.

Project Merlino consists of four portfolios mainly made up of unsecured loans, the people told Bloomberg, adding that Banca Ifis and Credito Fondiario have submitted binding offers for portions of the debt. They said an official announcement could come as early as the week of Dec. 24.

The sale is part of Monte dei Paschi's ongoing balance sheet cleanup. The lender intends to get rid of €3.7 billion of nonperforming loans in the coming months, Bloomberg noted.