Blackstone pays 3.6 bln euros for Catalunya Banc mortgage portfolio

MADRID, July 17 Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:06am EDT

MADRID, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S. investment fund Blackstone paid 3.615 billion euros ($5 billion) for a portfolio of home loans belonging to Spain's bailed-out Catalunya Banc, the lender said on Thursday, confirming an earlier Reuters story.

Spain's bank restructuring fund, the FROB, put 572 million euros towards the deal, Catalunya Banc said. The government hopes the sale of the huge portfolio will slim down the bank and make it more attractive to buyers.

The book value of package of mortgages, almost half of which are in default, is 6.392 billion euros and Catalunya Banc has set aside provisions of 2.205 billion euros, the lender said in a statement. ($1 = 0.7394 Euros) (Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Inmaculada Sanz)

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