MILAN Dec 13 Italy's largest bank, UniCredit
, said on Tuesday it would raise 13 billion euros
($13.83 billion) in the country's biggest share issue to clean
up its balance sheet and boost longer-term profitability.
UniCredit's move comes at a troubled time for Italian banks
and the economy, with the country's third-largest bank, Monte
dei Paschi di Siena, at risk of failure, a new
government just installed in Rome and early elections expected
UniCredit plans to launch the issue by June and use the
proceeds to help fund the removal of 17.7 billion euros worth of
bad debts from its balance sheet, enabling it to boost its
profits and also dividend payout by 2019.
($1 = 0.9403 euros)
(Reporting by Valentina Za and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark