A Tuscan branch of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA
A Tuscan branch of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA

Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena has reported a loss for the first quarter, its fourth consecutive quarterly loss, on lower income from lending business.

The bank reported a net loss of €100.7m ($130m/£85.5m) for the first quarter, compared to a profit of €89m in the year-ago period.

Quarterly revenue declined 22% to €1.2bn from a year earlier, primarily due to lower income from lending and the cost of state aid. Net interest income declined to €597m from €883m last year. Loan-loss provisions amounted to €484.2m compared with €430.3m, a year ago.

The bailed-out bank has been undergoing a restructuring process involving asset sales and workforce reduction. By 2015, it aims to close 400 branches and eliminate 4,600 jobs.

During the quarter, the company reduced its workforce by 1,541 and it plans to slash additional 225 jobs in the coming months. The bank also closed 96 branches so far and plans further 160 closures by July.

As a result of the measures, the bank's operating expenses declined by 8.3% to €745.7m.

Under CEO Fabrizio Viola, Monte dei Paschi targets to return to profit this year to avoid handing over a stake to the government as part of its €4.1bn rescue plan.

The third -biggest bank in Italy has become centre of a fraud probe alleging that its managers hid more than €700m of its losses under a derivative scheme. In April, it received shareholder approval to sue the former managers in connection with the scandal.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, the bank recorded a gigantic €1.6bn loss due to losses on the derivatives trade and hefty provisions on bad debt.

In the first quarter, the bank has almost halved loan-loss writedowns to €484m. Its core Tier 1 ratio, a key measure of a bank's capital strength, stood at 11.1% at the end of March, on the back of government funding.