Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's oldest bank, may be forced to request over three billion euros ($3.75 billion) in state aid, just as Italy struggles to stave off debt crisis contagion.
The Tuscan bank may ask for more than three billion euros in so-called "Tremonti bonds" in order to pay off a government loan agreed in 2009 and plug a capital gap, Il Sole 24 Ore business daily said on Tuesday.
The lifeline would allow BMPS to pay off its earlier 1.9 billion euro state loan, as well as boost its own capital by up to 1.2 billion, the paper said.
The bonds, named after former Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti, are bought by the government from banks, which have to pay interest on them.
A BMPS spokeswoman said the bank had "no comment" to make on the report.
The report may worry financial watchers, coming as it does just a day after Spain formally requested bailout of up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) for its stricken banks.
BMPS, founded in 1472, has to find 3.267 billion euros by the end of the month in order to bring their core tier one capital ratio to 9.0 percent of total assets, to conform to the rules of the European Banking Authority (EBA).
The Authority requires Italian banks to raise extra capital on a temporary basis to offset the risk on holdings of Italian government bonds.
Hit hard by the eurozone debt crisis, BMPS posted a 4.69 billion euro loss in 2011. The board will examine a strategic plan for 2012-2015 on Tuesday, including measures aimed at shoring up its capital.