BRUSSELS Dec 20 Spain's Banco Mare Nostrum and
three other banks secured EU regulatory approval on Thursday for
their restructuring plans which include cutting their balance
sheets by between 25 to more than 40 percent over the next five
years and halting dividend payments.
The European Commission imposed the measures in return for
approving the bailouts of savings banks BMN, Caja Espana-Caja
Duero, Caja 3 and Liberbank which were hit by the collapse of a
long property boom in 2008.
"The restructuring plans of BMN, Caja3, Banco CEISS and
Liberbank will make these banks viable again, thereby
contributing to restoring a healthy financial sector in Spain,
while minimising the burden for the taxpayer," EU Competition
Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
The EU competition authority said the banks' shareholders
will bear more than 2 billion euros of the restructuring costs.
The lenders will also be barred from paying dividends.
Liberbank, CEISS and BMN will not be allowed to make
acquisitions during the restructuring period. The Spanish
government is making a 1.87-billion-euro cash injection into the
The restructurings are less severe than those of Bankia,
Catalunya Banc and Novagalicia Banco, which will have to halve
their balance sheets in five years and cut jobs.