Spain hires Goldman Sachs to value Bankia: report

MADRID Fri May 18, 2012 2:26am EDT

Pedestrians are reflected in the Bankia headquarters building in Madrid, May 10, 2012. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

Pedestrians are reflected in the Bankia headquarters building in Madrid, May 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Paul Hanna

MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government has hired Goldman Sachs (GS.N) to carry out an independent valuation of Bankia (BKIA.MC), the ailing bank taken over by the state last week, Spanish newspaper Expansion said on Friday.

The U.S. bank will review Bankia's and its parent company BFA's books and determine within a month how much the state should inject to refloat the lender, which had to be rescued after its auditor, Deloitte, identified several gaps in last year's accounts.

Expansion said without citing sources that Bankia's financial hole may reach 8 billion euros on top of the 10 billion euros it needs to set aside to cover potential losses on real estate assets, as required by two financial reforms passed by the government in February and last week.

Bankia's share price slumped as much as 30 percent on Thursday, when Madrid denied a report that customers had withdrawn more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from the partly nationalized lender.

A senior government source said on Thursday that the Economy Ministry would name two independent auditors to review Spain's entire banking sector at noon on Friday.

According to banking sources, BlackRock and Oliver Wyman are likely to be chosen. They will first value the sector as a whole and then look at each bank individually, the government source said.

Moody's Investor Service carried out a sweeping downgrade of 16 Spanish banks on Thursday, including Banco Santander (SAN.MC), the euro zone's largest, citing a weak economy and the government's reduced ability to support troubled lenders.

All the banks' long-term debt ratings were downgraded by at least one notch, and some suffered three-notch cuts.

(Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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