ROM (Reuters) – Italian Economy Minister Daniele Franco said Wednesday the government would be careful to safeguard jobs and the local economy if larger rival UniCredit takes over the troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
UniCredit agreed last week to enter into exclusive talks with the Treasury Department to purchase “select parts” of Monte dei Paschi (MPS), which is 64% state-owned following a 2017 bailout.
Unions and politicians immediately expressed concern about the potential impact on jobs and the economy in Siena and the surrounding Tuscany region.
Speaking to parliament, Franco said it was a “government priority” to protect MPS workers, the bank’s brand and the local economy.
Franco also said he saw no risk that the talks with UniCredit would result in a “dissolution” of MPS and warned that an alternative, standalone solution for the Tuscan bank would expose it to “significant risks”.
Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones