Italy's UniCredit bank said Thursday it could need 7.38 billion euros ($10.47 billion) in fresh capital in order to meet new European rules, citing a review by the European Banking Authority.
The figure is around half the sum of 14.77 billion euros needed by the five largest Italian banks if they are to meet EBA guidelines, which include a minimum 9.0 core Tier 1 capital ratio by the end of June 2012.
UniCredit said that capital shortfall would be 4.4 billion euros once convertible bonds known issued in 2009 were taken into account.
The new 9.0 percent level for the most liquid capital reserves, as a proportion of a bank's total assets, was agreed overnight at a eurozone debt summit which put in place a broad accord to finally tame a lengthy crisis.
With Italy's struggling economy and strained public finances putting it in the spotlight, attention has turned to the Milan-based lender which is the only large bank in the country not to have increased its capital this year.
Chief executive Federico Ghizzoni said Thursday that UniCredit was already working on measures to strengthen its capital. The possibility of recapitalisation had been raised in September.
Intesa Sanpaolo meanwhile said Thursday that it would not need to raise more capital while the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank said it would need to raise 3.09 billion euros. The other banks have yet to release statements.
Italian banks need less capital than their Greek peers after the eurozone agreed that private sector creditors should take a 50-percent loss on their holdings of of Greek government debt.
Greek banks are estimated to need 30 billion euros to make good their losses, with Spanish lenders needing 26.16 billion euros and French groups 8.84 billion euros, according to EBA numbers.