MADRID, Sept 2 U.S. private equity group
Centerbridge and London-based Anacap are among the bidders in
late-stage talks to buy one of Spain's smaller nationalised
lenders, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
The two firms are in a consortium, and one other U.S. buyout
group is also in the running to buy EVO Banco, a subsidiary of
state-rescued NCG Banco, the newspaper said on its website,
citing people close to the talks.
NCG Banco declined to comment on the bidders. A spokesman
said that NCG Banco was likely to decide on the sale of EVO -
its network of some 80 branches outside the northern regions of
Galicia, Asturias and Leon where it is rooted - this month.
Five bidders earlier tabled non-binding offers for the unit,
and binding bids were now in, the spokesman said.
NCG Banco, the larger parent group, is itself likely to come
up for auction in the coming weeks, which will be a bigger test
of the state's ability to get rescued lenders off its hands.
While no foreign investors have yet bought into the networks
of bailed-out Spanish lenders in the wake of a 2008 property
crash, which last year triggered a European rescue of the
weakest banks, such funds have been snapping up other assets.
Centerbridge bought a debt servicing unit, specialised in
recovering money from borrowers struggling with loans, from
lender Banesto in 2012. Anacap is among investors that have
bought Spanish portfolios of troubled consumer loans.