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BRUSSELS, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Bailed-out Franco-Belgian lender Dexia is speaking to banks about a 40 billion euros ($54.3 billion) borrowing plan as it seeks to stop relying on financial support from the European Central Bank, a source familiar with its thinking said.
Issuance under the plan will be spread over a number of years and will be a mixture of instruments, including bonds, the source told Reuters.
Chief Executive Karel De Boeck told L'Echo newspaper, in an interview published on Thursday, that Dexia wanted to withdraw gradually from "Eurosystem" financing.
"The exercise will be to see how Dexia can issue 40 billion euros in the markets at a lower price," Boeck told the paper.
"For issues in the United States we need a rating by the agencies, an agreement with investment banks and to draw up a prospectus," he said, adding Dexia would be holding roadshows in March or April.
Dexia has received guarantees by the Belgian, French and Luxembourg states for up to 85 billion euros and these guarantees will be used to back the issuance. The guarantees should reduce to about 40 billion euros by 2016-2017.
The three states intervened in 2011 after Dexia's strategy of borrowing short term and lending long came unstuck.
De Boeck said its balance sheet would be 250 billion euros after the sale of French public financing agency DexMA, which will take 90 billion euros from the balance sheet along with a sizeable amount of swaps.
"Our portfolio itself, after the operation, will be about 180 billion euros, composed of about 90 billion euros of bonds and 90 billion euros of loans and claims," De Boeck said.
The DexMA sale, he said, would release 12 billion euros of cash, which would be used to reimburse French state bank CDC and former Belgian banking unit Belfius. ($1 = 0.7370 euros) (Writing by Ben Deighton; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and David Holmes)