ROME, June 12 (Reuters) - State-owned Monte dei Paschi di Siena does not need a rescue buyer, but a tie-up could help other mid-sized Italian banks to grow instead to serve Italy's interests, its CEO said on Monday.
Luigi Lovaglio made the comments at an event organised by Italy's main banking union FABI, shortly after BPER Banca (EMII.MI) CEO Piero Montani reiterated that his bank had no interest in buying MPS.
The conservative government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has repeatedly said such a solution would aid competition and benefit Italian companies.
Banco BPM has also repeatedly denied any interest in MPS.
In an apparent indirect reference to Banco BPM, whose main shareholder since last year is France's Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA), Lovaglio said it was important to grow to avoid being taken over.
"The problem is not who would want us ... or a third important banking group in Italy to save MPS. ... The issue to get to such a size that one can support the economy," he said.
"Size means capital. ... Without sufficient capital one risks becoming a takeover target for other players."
European Union rules on bank bailouts obligate the Rome government to cut its 64% stake in MPS.
Asked if Rome could hold onto the bank instead, Lovaglio said "an orderly exit" of the state remained the best option.
The veteran banker, who pulled off a 2.5 billion euro ($2.7 billion) share sale in tough markets in November, said MPS would continue to post good results.
"When we prove we deliver, as we will in the second and third quarter, we'll be able to sit at the negotiating table with someone who has a long-term view and the best interest of the country at heart," he said.
($1 = 0.9302 euros)
Reporting by Valentina Za and Andrea Mandala; Editing by Alexander Smith and Richard Chang
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