ROME Feb 14 Italy is in talks with European
authorities over a possible 5-billion euro ($5.3 billion) state
bailout of two Veneto-based regional lenders, two sources close
to the matter said on Tuesday.
One of the sources said the discussions were at an embryonic
stage and the final, combined capital shortfall of the two banks
had not been decided yet.
The sources said the scheme being discussed would be a
precautionary recapitalisation of the two banks, which allows
eurozone states to inject taxpayer money into lenders without
violating state aid rules.
The Rome government has already won approval from the
European Commission to use the mechanism for an 8.8 billion euro
bailout of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's
The two Veneto banks are owned by privately backed bank
bailout fund Atlante, which rescued them last year after their
attempt to raise money on the market failed.
The European Commission, the European Central Bank, Popolare
di Vicenza and Veneto Banca declined to comment.
($1 = 0.9461 euros)
(Reporting by Stefano Bernabei and Giuseppe Fonte, writing by