Credit Agricole says to exit Spain's Bankinter
PARIS/MADRID (Reuters) - French bank Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA) said it had begun the sale of its remaining 7.6 percent stake in Spain's Bankinter (BKT.MC), as it turns the page on years of foreign expansion to focus on its home market.
The sale of the stake, which is worth 230.63 million euros ($303.44 million) at current prices, will be conducted via a private placement with institutional investors, Credit Agricole said in a statement after the market close on Tuesday.
Bankinter declined to comment.
Credit Agricole in the midst of a post-crisis strategy to return to its roots in French retail banking, after an international expansion spree and investment-banking push saddled it with losses during the 2008 meltdown and the eurozone debt crisis.
Agricole has previously sold its Greek unit as well as brands such as Asia-focused brokerage CLSA. This deal will see it complete a process that began earlier this year when it sold a 5.2 percent chunk of its stake in Bankinter, raising 116 million euros.
The French bank said it would keep hold of 1.1 million convertible Bankinter bonds despite the stake sale, which could be converted into up to 17.7 million shares of the Spanish bank.
Bankinter, one of the few Spanish banks to avoid having to raise capital after the bursting of the country's property bubble, has seen its shares jump 72.75 percent this year.
The mid-sized lender, less exposed than its peers to real estate, also holds on its books less refinanced loans than the rest of the sector at a time when the Spanish authorities are asking lenders to review their coverage of these loans.
($1 = 0.7601 euros)
(Reporting by Lionel Laurent in Paris and Julien Toyer and Jesus Aguado in Madrid; Editing by Blaise Robinson and Anthony Barker)
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