Italian bank bailout fund Atlante has presented an offer for two-thirds of the 3.7 billion euros ($3.87 billion) of gross problematic loans of three of the small banks that were rescued from bankruptcy last year, two sources close to the matter said.
The move should help facilitate the sale of the banks - Banca Etruria, Banca Marche and CariChieti - to bigger rival and Italy's fifth-largest lender UBI .
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"Atlante today presented an offer for the non-performing loans of the three good banks," one of the sources said.
In November 2015, Italy rescued the three small lenders and a fourth one, CariFerrara, from bankruptcy, writing off the value of junior bonds and shares in the banks.
Italy has struggled to sell the four small banks despite the fact that their worst kind of non-performing loans were spun off in the rescue. Since then however the banks have been forced to class more problem loans as defaulting.
(Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia, writing by Agnieszka Flak)