By Julian Manduca
Announcing future plans for Italy’s fourth largest bank, Capitalia – of which Banco di Sicilia is a subsidiary, Bank CEO Matteo Arpe said negotiations had reached an advanced stage for a sale of its shares in the Bank of Valletta to a third party “in conjunction with the Malta government.”
Arpe was announcing plans for his company and said company profits included the market value of shares its shares in Bank of Valletta, which amounted to EUR75.8 million...“for which the process of sale in conjunction with the Malta government is at an advanced stage.”
The news contrasts somewhat with what was reported in L-orrizont on 26 February and maltarightnow.com on 28 February, when both reported that the shares were to be sold to the Government of Malta.
The plan to sell shares to a third party was reported several times in the media over the past months and in November 2004, Malta’s privatisation unit and Banco di Sicilia had invited bids for the appointment of a privatisation adviser. The company chosen to assist in the sale is Rothschild Italia S.p.A.
Banco di Sicilia is a subsidiary of Capitalia and holds 14.55 percent of BOV’s share capital.
Between them, the Maltese government and the Banco di Sicilia own 39.8 percent of the shares in the Maltese bank.
If the company’s valuation is correct, the entire sale price could be placed in the region of EUR207 million, with EUR131 million being the government’s share.
At the recent AGM of the Bank of Valletta chairman Roderick Chalmers told the bank’s shareholders that the BOV Board of Directors would be active participants in the sale of the shares.