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Italian banks want nation's gold reserves credited to them
Italian Banks Lobby to Tap Surging Gold Price
By Rachel Sanderson
Financial Times, London
Monday, February 28, 2011
MILAN, Italy -- Italian banks, which by a quirk of law are shareholders in the country's central bank, are lobbying to have their stakes in the Bank of Italy marked to market on the back of surging gold prices in an attempt to ease regulatory pressure on them to raise capital in advance of this summer's stress tests.
The move comes as Mario Draghi, Bank of Italy governor, over the weekend stepped up pressure on Italian banks, which are some of the lowest capitalised in Europe, to increase their core capital ratios or make clear to the market any plans to do so.
The Bank of Italy currently has a nominal value of just E156,000 ($215,000) divided into 300,000 shares, which are distributed among Italy's retail and savings banks according to their size.
Senior bankers say taking into account the surge in gold prices the Bank of Italy could have a mark-to-market value of about E30 billion. Analysts estimate the Italian banking sector has combined recapitalisation needs of much the same amount to comply with new Basel III capital rules.
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Prophecy Resource Spins Off Platinum/Palladium Venture:
World-Class PGM Deposit in Yukon
Company Press Release, January 18, 2011
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Prophecy Resource Corp. (TSX-V:PCY)and Pacific Coast Nickel Corp. announce that they have agreed that PCNC will acquire Prophecy's Nickel PGM projects by issuing common shares to Prophecy.
PCNC will acquire the Wellgreen PGM Ni-Cu and Lynn Lake nickel projects in the Yukon Territory and Manitoba respectively by issuing up to 550 million common shares of PCNC to Prophecy. PCNC has 55.7 million shares outstanding.
Following the transaction:
-- Prophecy will own approximately 90 percent of PCNC.
-- PCNC will consolidate its share capital on a 10 old for one new basis.
-- Prophecy will change its name to Prophecy Coal Corp. and PCNC will be renamed Prophecy Platinum Corp.
-- Prophecy intends to distribute half of its PCNC shares to shareholders pro-rata in accordance with their holdings.
Based on the closing price of the common shares of PCNC on January 17, $0.195 per share, the gross value of the transaction is $107,250,000.
For the complete announcement, please visit:
Any debate over the value of the Bank of Italy has met with opposition from the central bank, concerned that it could harm governance. For the same reason, executives at Italy's banks are not involved in the central bank's decision-making process.
But several sources familiar with the talks say Italy's banking lobby is gaining political traction amid opposition from its core shareholders, the local banking foundations, to capital increases as they fear a dilution of their stakes.
Italy's government has also indicated there is a political will to reduce the need for Italian banks to access the capital markets.
After heavy lobbying from banks and foundations, the government last week forced through a motion, using a confidence vote, that will ease capital pressures on the banks by allowing them to book some deferred taxes as assets.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena and Banca Popolare di Milano, a regional lender, are the banks seen as most likely to have to tap the market as they have core Tier 1 capital ratios of under 8 per cent and little room for asset sales. Both banks have denied any such plans. The capital structure of UniCredit, Italy's largest bank by assets, is also in the spotlight as the future of its main shareholders -- the Libyan Central Bank and Libyan Investment Authority -- is unclear. Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's largest bank by retail network, has core capital of about 8 per cent, which could also be considered too low for a potentially systemically important bank.
Intesa Sanpaolo would be the biggest beneficiary of any capital revaluation, with a 30 per cent stake in the central bank.
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Sona Drills 85.4g Gold/Ton Over 4 Metres at Elizabeth Gold Deposit, Extending the Mineralization of the Southwest Vein on the Property
Company Press Release, October 27, 2010
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Sona Resources Corp. reports on five drillling holes in the third round of assay results from the recently completed drill program at its 100 percent-owned Elizabeth Gold Deposit Property in the Lillooet Mining District of southern British Columbia. Highlights from the diamond drilling include:
-- Hole E10-66 intersected 17.4g gold/ton over 1.54 metres.
-- Hole E10-67 intersected 96.4g gold/ton over 2.5 metres, including one assay interval of 383g of gold/ton over 0.5 metres.
-- Hole E10-69 intersected 85.4g gold/ton over 4.03 metres, including one assay interval of 230g gold/ton over 1 metre.
Four drill holes, E10-66 to E10-69, targeted the southwestern end of the Southwest Vein, and three of the holes have expanded the mineralized zone in that direction. The Southwest Vein gold mineralization has now been intersected over a strike length of 325 metres, with the deepest hole drilled less than 200 metres from surface.
"The assay results from the Southwest Zone quartz vein continue to be extremely positive," says John P. Thompson, Sona's president and CEO. "We are expanding the Southwest Vein, and this high-grade gold mineralization remains wide open down dip and along strike to the southwest."
For the company's full press release, please visit: