Blackstone wins auction for 6.4 bln eur Spanish loan portfolio

MADRID, July 16 Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:17pm EDT

MADRID, July 16 (Reuters) - Blackstone has won the auction for a 6.4-billion-euro ($8.66 billion) portfolio of property loans belonging to Spain's bailed-out Catalunya Banc, which is being prepared for a sale, two people familiar with the process said on Wednesday.

The U.S. private equity firm bid around 3.5 billion to 3.6 billion euros for the package of loans, one of those people and a third source close to the deal said.

Just under half of the loans are non-performing ones. Catalunya Banc was nationalised by the state when it struggled to cope with the aftermath of a real estate market crash. The government is close to selling the bank, after it has shed the portfolio. ($1 = 0.7393 Euros)

Blackstone could not immediately be reached for comment. (Reporting by Jesus Aguado and Sarah White, Editing by Julien Toyer)