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Italy's state will not be an active investor in Monte Paschi - chairman

The main entrance to Monte Dei Paschi bank headquarters is pictured in Siena January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

MILAN (Reuters) - A government stake in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) does not mean a bailout of the Italian lender and the state is not expected to become an active shareholder, the bank's chairman said.

The Treasury will take a stake in Italy's third-biggest bank because the coupon on state loans the bank received in 2013 has to be repaid in new shares if it does not report a profit. The Siena-based lender posted a 2014 net loss of 5.34 billion euros (3.95 billion pounds).

"This is not a state intervention in Monte Paschi. And above all this is no bailout, because there is no need for it," Chairman Alessandro Profumo was quoted as saying in an interview on Saturday with Il Sole 24 Ore. A bank spokesman later confirmed Profumo's comments.

Profumo added that the bank's turnaround was "at a good point", evidenced by growth in the bank's operating result.

The Treasury will take a stake in the bank when the coupon is paid in July, a source has told Reuters. The stake is expected to be around 5 percent after Monte Paschi completes a planned 3 billion euro capital increase.

Profumo said the state would become a financial investor, and being represented on the board of directors was not part of the rules of the loans. It would be up to the state to choose whether to insist on a board seat, he added.

Profumo also said that a merger with another lender was "certainly a prospect" for the bank, although there were no offers on the table at the moment.

Speculation over the future of Monte Paschi, founded in 1472, has increased sharply since the bank failed European Central Bank health checks with a capital shortfall of 2.1 billion euros.

The bank has struggled to recover from the disastrous acquisition of rival lender Antonveneta in 2007, which drained its finances just as the global financial crisis was about to break.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; editing by Clelia Oziel)