Dec 30 - Shares in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena fall in volatile trade after an unprecedented clash between its top executives and main investor led to the delay of a vital cash call at Italy's third-biggest bank. Ciara Sutton reports
Turmoil at the world's oldest bank. Italy's Monte dei Paschi is staring nationalisation in the face. It's main shareholder has delayed a vital cash call until May 2014. That's prompted a threat to quit by the bank's chairman Alessandro Profumo. And it's chief executive Fabrizio Viola. Both will decide in mid-January whether to stay on. Robert Cole from Reuters Breakingviews says the crisis has left the bank on shaky ground (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASSISTANT EDITOR OF REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS, ROBERT COLE, SAYING: "It won't collapse and disappear all together, because nationalisation may come in. But as far as I can see, nobody, not the government, not the foundation, and not the bank itself, want nationalisation to happen." The 500-year-old bank received a state bailout earlier this year after it was hammered by a derivatives scandal and the euro zone debt crisis. In order to start repaying the 4 billion euro loan the European Commission says it must hold a rights issue by the end of next year. But the rebel shareholders from the Monte dei Paschi Foundation want to first sell their stake in Italy's third biggest lender and repay some debt. The crisis highlights weaknesses in Italy's banking system - ahead of a Europe-wide health check of the sector.