UniCredit (UNCFF) traded lower Friday after it said investors have taken up the bulk of its record capital raising following a statement from the bank late yesterday in Milan.
Italy's largest lender received commitments to take up 99.8% of the rights issue, which will raise €12.9 billion, enabling it to repair a restructuring-related hole that opened up in its capital buffer in January. Any unsubscribed rights will be sold to investors beginning Feb. 27.
The offering, which was fully underwritten and had a March 10 deadline, gave investors a chance to purchase stock at a 38% discount to the ex-rights price, or about €8.08.
UniCredit stock fell 2% in Milan to change hands at €12.19 each by 10:40 GMT, giving the bank a market value of $27.1 billion.
UniCredit had been racing against the clock to get the deal done in order to plug a hole in its balance sheet that pushed its capital buffer below European Central Bank requirements. The capital gap had endangered UniCredit's ability to make both interest payments to some bondholders and dividend payments.
The bank had detailed a mammoth plan to strengthen its balance sheet in December, as Monte dei Paschi (BMDPY) teetered on the edge of the abyss, and address a pile of nonperforming loans that has been encroaching on its capital buffer.
Given Monte dei Paschi's subsequent failure to raise enough capital to repair its own balance sheet, in an effort led by JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) , the fact that international lenders were willing to underwrite the offer for UniCredit may have been a factor in the speed with which investors subscribed to take up the discounted shares.
In addition to the capital raising, UniCredit is selling a €17.7 billion portfolio of bad debts to investment managers PIMCO and Fortress (FIG) . It has also announced a plan to cut staff and taken further charges against the value of its loan book.
The measures were responsible for the damage to Unicredit's common equity tier 1 capital buffer. Failure to close the gap would have barred the bank from making a coupon payment on its AT1 contingent convertible bonds scheduled for the end of March.
However, even with the successful capital raising in the bag, UniCredit might not quite be out of the woods yet.
It was instructed by the ECB to submit a capital plan setting out how it intends to address the shortfall and a generally weak buffer in January.
The lender then warned investors earlier this month that the central bank might still ask it to raise even more capital in order to bring its buffer into line with that of other globally systemic important financial institutions.
So-called SIFI's are large enough that their collapse might imperil the broader economy, as happened when New York-based Lehman Brothers failed in September 2008.