Almost two-thirds of investors expect Europe's banks to raise significant capital in the next year following a health check that forced little fundraising but showed up some weak spots, according to a survey.
The survey of 166 equity investors by Bank of America Merrill Lynch showed the overall view of the so-called stress test of 91 Europe's banks was positive, for adding transparency to the sector, in particular the detail on sovereign debt holdings.
The consensus view was the tests were not severe enough, however, and the aggregate capital shortfall of 3.5 billion euros ($4.5 billion) was too low.
Merrill said 62 percent of respondents expect banks to raise significant capital in the market in the next six to 12 months.
I don't expect too many rights issues by banks short-term, but I think that several European banks appear a bit tight on capital and they might issue equity later in the year, said Craig Coben, head of European equity capital markets for BofA Merrill Lynch.
I expect issuance to come from midsize banks primarily, although it's possible that a national champion might also tap the market ... a strong balance sheet will also offer a competitive advantage in today's environment, he said.
Some 77 percent of survey respondents said they would invest new money in the sector at the right price.
Capital was not seen as the most important issue for Europe's banks, however. Some 56 percent of those polled said liquidity and funding were the key issue, compared to 27 percent who saw earnings generation as the most important issue and 11 percent who pinpointed capital.
Three-quarters of respondents said the tests were not stressed enough, but a majority concurred that a Tier 1 capital level of 6 percent was an appropriate minimum.
Germany was named by half the respondents as the country that was most disappointing in the tests, followed by Italy, named by 23 percent of respondents.
(Reporting by Steve Slater and Chris Vellacott; Editing by Sharon Lindores)