November 22, 2012 / 8:46 AM / 5 years ago

Spain's Santander considers sale of US car financing unit-report

MADRID, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Spain’s largest bank, Santander is looking at a sale of its car-financing business in the United States via a stock market listing, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Santander in Spain declined to comment. A U.S.-based spokeswoman for Santander was not immediately available to comment.

Santander, which raised $4 billion in a U.S. listing of its Mexican banking business in September, is planning an offering for the first half of 2013, the report said.

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, the business could be worth as much as $6 billion although plans are still in the early stages.

Santander has been spinning off overseas businesses to help shore up its capital against weakness in Spain from the country’s economic slump and high unemployment.

The bank has weathered Spain’s property market crash and sovereign debt crisis better than rivals because it makes less than a fifth of its profit in the country after years of expansion abroad into regions such as Latin America.

It has already listed its Brazilian and Chilean arms and its Argentine and UK businesses are expected to follow.

Spain became the focal point of the euro zone debt crisis earlier this year as it became clear its banks would need financial support to rid their balance sheets of around 185 billion euros of toxic real estate assets.

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