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Report: Monte dei Paschi holding discussions with Atlante fund for NPL problem

Banca Montedei Paschi di Siena SpA is holding discussions with Italy's Atlanterescue fund over a potential deal to reduce its nonperforming loans, Reutersreported July 13, citing "two sources familiar with the matter."

The ECB in the week of July 4 told Monte dei Paschi to its stock of NPLs by 40%through 2018, and the lender is looking to reach a deal with authorities by theend of July, when results of the European Banking Authority's stress tests willbe disclosed, according to the newswire. One source said Atlante and Monte deiPaschi are in constant contact in a bid to seal an agreement, while pressreports indicated that J.P. Morgan may be hired to advise Monte dei Paschi on alarge NPL sale.

The Atlante fund has already Veneto Banca SpA and Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA and is reportedly lookingfor fresh funds, which one source told Reuters could be used entirely to buy upMonte dei Paschi debt.