Zara owner Ortega eyes Realia stake sale: sources

MADRID Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:18am EST

Spain's Princess Letizia and Crown Prince Felipe (R) stand next to chairman of Spanish global fashion group Inditex, Amancio Ortega (L), during a visit to an Inditex factory in Coruna, northern Spain December 2, 2008. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal

Spain's Princess Letizia and Crown Prince Felipe (R) stand next to chairman of Spanish global fashion group Inditex, Amancio Ortega (L), during a visit to an Inditex factory in Coruna, northern Spain December 2, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Miguel Vidal

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega, the founder of Zara owner Inditex (ITX.MC), is among the investors eyeing the sale of property firm Realia (RLIA.MC), two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The owners of Realia - indebted Spanish builder FCC (FCC.MC) and nationalized lender Bankia (BKIA.MC) - hired Goldman Sachs in November to find a buyer for their 58 percent stake in the real estate company, worth about 145 million euros ($197 million).

Ortega, who has been an active investor in property both in Spain and abroad, is studying an investment in the company through his Pontegadea investment vehicle, the sources said on Monday, commenting on a report on website Vozpopuli.

No one from Pontegadea was immediately available for comment.

The internet portal said Ortega is particularly drawn by property assets owned by Realia's French unit, Siic de Paris INNB.PA.

Ortega was behind one of the biggest property deals in Spain in recent years, the 400 million-euro purchase of Madrid's Torre Picasso in 2011 from Realia shareholder FCC. But he has not been known to invest in any listed companies other than his own firm Inditex, the world's largest retailer.

Realia, which refinanced an 847 million-euro syndicated loan in July, had net debt of 2.182 billion euros at the end of September.

Investors are showing increasing interest in Spain's real estate market. House prices look close to reaching bottom after falling around 40 percent since 2007.

($1 = 0.7376 euros)

(Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez; Writing by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Larry King)

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