March 6, 2018 / 9:41 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Italy's Carige says can't meet new investor's board seat request

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MILAN, March 6 (Reuters) - Italy’s Banca Carige said on Tuesday it could not at present grant investor Raffaele Mincione the board seat he had requested after building a 5.43 percent stake in the regional lender.

Carige also said it expected a 360 million euro hit from a new accounting rule that came into force in January and requires banks to book expected - and no longer actual - losses on their assets.

The bank plans to spread the impact of the new IFRS9 rule, which will shave 2.1 percentage points off its best-quality capital ratio, over five years.

It said the bulk of the hit stemmed from applying the new rule to 1.5 billion euros in soured loans that Carige plans to sell this year.

Burdened, like many Italian banks, by soured debts, Carige managed to pull off in December a 544 million euro cash call demanded by regulators thanks to support from its top shareholders. It also struck backstop accords with investors to whom it was selling other assets.

Mincione, an Italian financier who in the past sought to play a role at rival Banca Popolare di Milano, emerged in late February as one of Carige’s largest shareholders after two local businessmen - Vittorio Malacalza, the top investor, with a 20.6 percent stake, and Gabriele Volpi, who owns 9.1 percent.

A spokeswoman for Mincione on Tuesday declined to comment on Italian press reports that he could seek to have Carige’s shareholders elect a new board if his request to appoint a representative on the current one was denied.

With Italy’s fragmented banking sector expected to head for a new round of consolidation, Genoa-based Carige is seen seeking a merger after its restructuring.

The bank said on Tuesday it posted a 388 million euro loss last year, fractionally higher than the preliminary figure it reported last month, as it wrote down doubtful loans to ease disposals. (Reporting by Valentina Za Editing by Gareth Jones)

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