Top MPS shareholder says hopes cap hike won't be needed

SIENA, Italy, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The top shareholder in Italy's third biggest lender, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena , said on Tuesday it would vote in favour of a capital increase of up to 1 billion euros in the next five years but hoped the cash call will not be necessary.

Gabriello Mancini, chairman of the charitable foundation that holds 34.9 percent of MPS, told a shareholder meeting he was confident the bank's management would work to reduce its capital needs.

Mancini said this would allow "to postpone or even cancel" the capital hike, which the bank is expected to launch by 2015 and which would open the door to new investors.

The extraordinary shareholder meeting is expected to approve the capital hike and changes to the bank's governance later on Tuesday.

(Reporting By Silvia Aloisi)

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