ROME- Italy will meet its commitment to sell its controlling stake in Monte dei Paschi di Siena by the end of 2021, Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said on Wednesday.
Rome owns 68% of the Tuscan bank following an 8-billion euro ($9.07 billion) rescue in 2017 and has promised the European Commission it will re-privatise the bank next year.
"Of course we will respect the deadline," Gualtieri said in an interview with Bloomberg television, declining to comment on reports of a merger between Monte Paschi and any other bank.
In other remarks, Gualtieri said he did not believe that Italy would risk any market stigma if it applied for a loan from the euro zone's ESM bailout fund, adding the government would decide at a later date whether to seek a credit line. ($1 = 0.8820 euros)
(Reporting by Gavin Jones; editing by Angelo Amante) ((email@example.com; +39 06 8522 4232;))