Spanish lender Ibercaja takes over Caja 3

MADRID Thu May 23, 2013 11:20am EDT

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MADRID (Reuters) - Mid-sized Spanish lender Ibercaja on Thursday said it had reached a deal to take over the smaller bank Caja 3, the latest of a series of mergers which have shrunk Spain's banking system from more than 40 banks five years ago to just 15 today.

Ibercaja was one of the few Spanish lenders which did not need to seek public aid last year to cover losses after the bursting of a decade-long property bubble.

Caja 3 received 407 million euros ($524 million) in European funds as part of a 41-billion-euro bailout of Spain's financial sector.

In a statement, Ibercaja said the three former savings banks which formed Caja 3 would now own 12.5 percent of its capital.

($1 = 0.7766 euros)

(Reporting by Julien Toyer, editing by William Hardy)

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