Spain's rescued Catalunya Banc sells 1.5 bln eur loan portfolio

MADRID, April 22 Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:44pm EDT

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MADRID, April 22 (Reuters) - Bailed-out Spanish lender Catalunya Banc, trying to slim down before being privatised, said on Tuesday it had sold a 1.48-billion-euro ($2 billion) package of failed loans to Asian investor Aiqon Capital.

The nationalised bank, which is also in the process of trying to offload a 7-billion-euro portfolio of mortgages, did not detail the price of the deal with the debt recovery firm based in Kuala Lumpur.

The loans included consumer and company debts. Catalunya Banc said they had been completely provisioned for on its books, meaning it has put money aside to cover losses. Debt investors usually buy loans at a discount to their face value.

The Spanish authorities have already injected 12 billion euros into Catalunya Banc, one of the country's lenders hit hard by a 2008 property market slump. They are likely to try and auction off the bank before the summer, after failing twice already to return it to private ownership.

Separately, Spain's banking association, the AEB, said on Tuesday that the state's bank restructuring fund FROB had registered a loss of nearly 37 billion euros since 2009 on investments in ailing banks.

The country's deposit guarantee fund, which has helped back up guarantee schemes to shield banks against soured loans, lost over 16 billion euros in the same period, the AEB said. ($1 = 0.7248 euros) (Reporting by Sarah White and Jesus Aguado; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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