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ECB puts Monte dei Paschi capital shortfall at €8.8B

The ECB said troubled Italian lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA's capital shortfall has risen to €8.8 billion from the €5 billion previously estimated by the lender, Reuters reported Dec. 26, citing a statement from the lender.

Monte dei Paschi launched a €5 billion capital increase after turning in the worst performance in the Europe-wide banking stress tests conducted by the European Banking Authority in July.

The lender said it made a formal request Dec. 23 to the ECB to move forward with a precautionary recapitalization, a state intervention in a struggling bank that is still solvent and which entails a limited bail-in of investors. According to Monte dei Paschi, the ECB said the lender was solvent, but its liquidity position had worsened since the end of November, the newswire reported.

The European Commission said it would work with the Italian government to ascertain that the conditions for a state rescue were met, Reuters added.

The Italian government recently approved a bailout plan for Monte dei Paschi following the lender's failed attempt to raise €5 billion from private investors. The lender was required to complete its recapitalization by Dec. 31, after the ECB rejected its request for an extension.