MADRID Dec 7 Europe's No. 2 insurer AXA
is looking at investing in Spain's so-called 'bad
bank', Chief Executive Henri de Castries said in a newspaper
interview on Friday, the latest show of private sector support
for the entity.
Spain has set up the bad bank, known as Sareb, to take toxic
property assets from banks' balance sheets so they can lend more
to families and businesses. Its creation was a condition for
Spain to get money from Europe to clean up its financial sector
after a 2008 property crash.
The head of AXA told Expansion newspaper it was in talks
with the Spanish government about how it would invest in Sareb,
and said that the terms would have to be reasonable.
"We are interested in investing in the bad bank because we
are a responsible company and it's in the interest of all large
financial institutions that the Spanish banking system returns
to normality," he said.
The bad bank will initially have equity of 3.9 billion euros
($5 billion), but Spain needs private investors to stump up 2.2
billion euros of this by end-December to keep its stake in the
bank below 50 percent and reduce the burden on state coffers.
Spanish insurers Mapfre and Mutua Madrilena said
earlier this month they would invest in the bad bank.
Spain's biggest bank Santander and Sabadell
, the country's fifth biggest, have said they will
invest in it. BBVA and Popular are still
considering an investment.
Press reports in Spain on Thursday said Deutsche Bank
and Barclays, international banks with a
presence in Spain, would invest in Sareb. Both lenders declined