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Report: Top Banca Carige investor meets ECB after blocking vital €400M cash call

Italy's Malacalza family, Banca Carige SpA's top investor, met with ECB supervisors Dec. 27 to explain why they refused to back the bank's proposed cash call, Reuters reported, citing a source close to the matter.

The Malacalzas control Malacalza Investimenti Srl, which has a 27.55% stake in the lender, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Their stake is valued at less than €25 million at current market prices, Reuters noted.

The family blocked the approval of Banca Carige's crucial €400 million share sale at a Dec. 22 shareholder meeting, saying they needed more clarity on the lender's future business strategy and potential merger options, as well as additional requests from the ECB, the report added.

The latest cash call was intended to allow the Genoa-based bank to convert into equity a €320 million Tier 2 subordinated bond it recently issued, and would have helped bolster the lender's core capital ratio, which was at 10.8% as of Sept. 30 — above the ECB's minimum requirement of 9.63% but below the regulator's suggested level of 11.18%, the report noted.

Banca Carige CEO Fabio Innocenzi is also set to meet again with ECB officials after having briefed them on the outcome of the blocked cash call, a second source told the newswire.

Shares in the lender fell 18.75% at closing Dec. 27.