di Davide Marchetta
Milan, October 18 - The board of Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank decided Tuesday it would examine a non-binding offer it received from former industry minister and ex-bank executive Corrado Passera, immediately after it unveils its new industrial plan on October 24. Shares in the troubled Tuscan lender soared 12% in trading on rumors of a return to the so-called "Passera plan", which was first aired last July, when it also drove the stock higher. MPS stock prices jumped 12.8% to close at 0.1954 euros a share in what is the lender's first rise since August. Meanwhile the MPS board met today for eight hours and Passera, the former head of Intesa Sanpaolo bank, went to Consob stock market regulator to illustrate his offer. It would would be an alternative to the Tuscan lender's current, European Central Bank-approved turnaround plan involving a five-billion-euro capital increase and the securitization of 10 billion euros' worth of non-performing loans (NPLs) with help from Italy's private Atlante fund. "If it goes as it should, (the MPS rescue plan) could be a beautiful project and it would make Italy look really good," Passera said on his way out of his Consob meeting, which lasted half an hour. "That's what I find stimulating," he added, saying he has a "duty" to keep his plan confidential until the board makes a decision.