Spain's Caixabank selling 1.1 bln-euro loan portfolio-source

MADRID, March 24 Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:44am EDT

MADRID, March 24 (Reuters) - Caixabank is looking to sell a 1.1 billion-euro ($1.5 billion) package of troubled, small company debts to investors as Spanish banks step up their clear-out of problem loans, a source with knowledge of the transaction said on Monday.

The portfolio is being marketed to Spanish and international funds, the source said.

Caixabank, Spain's third-biggest bank, declined to comment. Some of the loans are secured against industrial buildings, shops and other types of offices, the source added, confirming a report in newspaper Expansion on Monday.

Spanish banks have been trying to sell more loan portfolios in recent months, encouraged by an influx of international investors as the country's economy emerges from its long recession.

Private equity groups and investment firms such as Apollo Global Management and Cerberus Capital Management have been buying up Spanish banks' property management platforms, giving them access to teams to manage loans and recover debts after buying them at steep discounts.

Bailed-out Catalunya Banc is also in the process of marketing a 1.5 billion-euro portfolio of loans, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month. ($1=0.7256 euros) (Reporting by Jesus Aguado; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Paul Day, Greg Mahlich)