By Jesús Aguado
MADRID Feb 14 (Reuters) - Spain's bank rescue fund FROB said on Friday it chose Goldman Sachs to advise it on the sale of part of the government's controlling stake in nationalised lender Bankia.
The government is taking steps to start selling part of its 68 percent holding in Bankia, but will maintain control. Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told Reuters this week that small stakes could be sold during the year before a bigger sale in the medium-term.
Bankia was Spain's biggest bailed-out bank, at the height of a deep financial crisis that almost sent the country into default, and new private investment in the lender will help cement a Spanish financial and economic turnaround.
Bankia took 18 billion euros out of a 41 billion euro European-financed rescue of Spain's financial system, and returned to profit last year after a record loss of 19.2 billion euros in 2012.
In a statement, the FROB said seven investment banks had submitted bids for the advisory job.
Several Spanish banks - including Santander and Popular - have publicly expressed their interest in participating as bookrunners if FROB decides to place Bankia shares in the market.
Bankia President Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said recently that investors were interested in buying into the bank.