Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi LONDON/MILAN | Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:24pm BST LONDON/MILAN (Reuters) – Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) will sound out foreign investors in London over the next few days to raise support for a hefty 2.5 billion euro (2.11 billion pounds) capital increase that the troubled Italian bank must complete next year. UBS (UBSN.VX), which is advising the Tuscan lender on the much-needed cash call, is to lead the round of contacts that will in any case be preliminary, a financial source told Reuters on Wednesday. Monte dei Paschi, Italy’s third-largest bank by assets, was forced to take 4.1 billion euros of state aid to stay afloat after getting hammered by the euro zone crisis and a set of hazardous derivatives deals now at the centre of a criminal investigation in Italy. The European Commission, which rules on state aid in the European Union, has demanded the bank carry out the capital increase, which is more than twice the amount originally envisaged, in exchange for approving the rescue plan. The EU’s executive has also requested a tougher restructuring plan, which Monte dei Paschi unveiled earlier this month. Failure to convince investors to subscribe to the capital increase will result in nationalisation of the bank as the state aid was offered in the form of convertible loans that would be turned into equity. So far French Insurer Axa (AXAF.PA), which has a long-standing partnership with Monte dei Paschi and is also an investor, has said it will join the planned capital hike, taking a stake that it is proportional to its 3.73 percent investment in the Siena lender. Monte dei Paschi Chief Executive Fabrizio Viola said earlier this month a formal road show with investors was likely to start only after the bank’s third-quarter results on November 14. Monte dei Paschi declined to comment. (Reporting by Sophie Sassard in London and Silvia Aloisi in Milan, Writing by Lisa Jucca; editing by David Evans)
Kander and Ebbs 2010 show The Scottsboro Boys, which won plaudits and 12 Tony nominations on Broadway, plays at the Young Vic from 18 October, directed, as was the original production, by Susan Stroman. And, courtesy of another American, the flame-haired musician Tori Amos, comes The Light Princess at the National Theatre. The musical is based on an obscure 19th-century fairytale about a grief-stricken, gravity-defying princess who is doomed to float until she learns how to cry. Marianne Elliott a director of vision and great sensitivity, and a key creative on the NTs ongoing blockbuster hit War Horse is at the helm of the venture; and Amos is one of the quirkiest voices in pop. Any collaboration between them can hardly help but intrigue. Theres plenty of activity in the commercial sector, too. Anyone with fond memories of Alan Parkers 1991 film The Commitments, based on Roddy Doyles novel about a Dublin soul band, can indulge in some sweet soul food at the West Ends Palace Theatre, where Doyles own musical adaptation of his book is currently in previews. December brings Stephen Ward, inspired by the 1960s political scandal the Profumo Affair, which unites Andrew Lloyd Webber with Christopher Hampton and Don Black, the team behind Sunset Boulevard. And Lloyd Webbers erstwhile writing partner, lyricist Tim Rice, has also been busy, on From Here To Eternity, based on James Jones classic novel, which has just begun previewing. With the cooling weather came a mixed bag of classical theatre. The actor of genius, Mark Rylance, donned his directorial hat to deliver a woefully creaky Much Ado About Nothing at the Old Vic, with under-powered performances from James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave; those two living legends can be seen struggling on with it until the end of November. Meanwhile, Michael Grandage, the former artistic director of the West End producing powerhouse the Donmar Warehouse, gave us an exuberant Midsummer Nights Dream, oozing free love and Burning Man atmosphere and starring Sheridan Smith an actor fast becoming a national treasure as a pulchritudinous Titania, and Little Britains David Walliams as Bottom. That continues at the Noel Coward until 16 November.
trading matter by the resolution of the CFTC investigation.” The agreement marks the first time the CFTC used a new legal authority from the 2010 financial overhaul law that is designed to prohibit reckless market conduct. Under this new authority, the CFTC can sanction companies or individuals for manipulating the market without proving they had a specific intent to do so. It defines manipulation as a trading strategy employed “in reckless disregard” of its potential effect and harm to the market. Selling a large volume of derivatives in a compressed time period to protect against losses constituted a “manipulative device,” the CFTC said. Enforcement Director David Meister said the agency now is “better armed than ever to protect the market.” The CFTC action could be seen as a warning to other financial institutions to refrain from similar conduct. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who wrote the anti-manipulation provision of the law, said the new authority provides “a bright line of what activities won’t be tolerated on Wall Street.” “The best policeman is a rule that basically everyone understands and lives by,” she said. In addition to paying the $100 million, JPMorgan agreed in the settlement to continue to take steps to tighten its oversight of derivatives trading with an eye to reducing risk. The Justice Department has been investigating JPMorgan for possible criminal violations in connection with the London trades. One of the traders involved, Bruno Iksil, was known as the “London Whale” for the outsize bets he made that could roil markets. JPMorgan was one of the few financial institutions to come through the 2008 financial crisis without suffering major losses. The trading loss raised concern about continued risk-taking by Wall Street banks five years after the financial crisis plunged the country into the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.