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UPDATE 1-Spain's Metrovacesa close to selling Gecina stake - report
June 2, 2014 / 8:35 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Spain's Metrovacesa close to selling Gecina stake - report

(Adds background on debt, details)

By Sarah Morris

MADRID, June 2 (Reuters) - Spanish builder Metrovacesa is close to completing the sale of its 27 percent stake in French builder Gecina to two U.S. funds for 1.8 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in a move to raise cash, newspaper Expansion reported on Monday.

Blackstone and Ivanhoe Cambridge, which already own almost 23 percent of Gecina, were looking at ways to avoid being legally obliged to launch a full takeover bid, including teaming up with a third partner, the paper said, citing sources close to the deal.

A Metrovacesa spokesman declined to comment on the report.

Metrovacesa was taken over by creditor banks Santander , BBVA, Sabadell, Bankia and Popular after failing to make debt payments in the wake of Spain’s property crash in 2008.

The builder’s troubles go back to its ambitious acquisition of France’s Gecina in 2005, three years before the end of Spain’s housing boom, when it took out a 3.2 billion euro syndicated loan.

Metrovacesa said last year it would consider selling the stake as it looked to pay down debt. Blackstone and Canadian property manager Ivanhoe Cambridge acquired a 22.98 percent stake in January after a debt-for-equity swap and

Indebted Spanish property peer Colonial, which is in a 1 billion euro refinancing deal, said last week it was in talks to sell French property firm SICC de Paris.

$1 = 0.7328 Euros Editing by Louise Heavens and David Holmes

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