MADRID Spain's Banco Sabadell (SABE.MC) will consider listing its real estate arm Solvia on the stock market in preference to an expected sale, the bank said on Wednesday, looking to tap renewed investor interest in Spanish property.
Banking sources had said the Catalonia-based bank was likely to sell the business in the next few months, following the example of peers Santander (SAN.MC), Popular (POP.MC) and Bankia (BKIA.MC), which recently sold their property management businesses to investment funds.
A Banco Sabadell spokesman confirmed media reports that the bank's Chairman Josep Oliu said at an event in Barcelona that its vision was now to hang on to Solvia and consider a future stock market listing.
Foreign investors have been flocking to Spain in search of bargains as the country emerges from a prolonged recession, with the battered real estate sector attracting funds after a prices slump of about 40 percent since 2007.
Spanish property investment vehicle Hispania and family-owned real estate company Grupo Lar made strong stock exchange debuts this month.
Billionaire financiers George Soros and John Paulson and investment fund Pimco were among the international investors who bought stakes in the companies.
Solvia had about 28 billion euros ($38.6 billion) in real estate assets under management at the end of 2013.
($1 = 0.7254 Euros)
(Reporting by Jesus Aguado; Writing by Julien Toyer; Editing by David Goodman)