September 14, 2017 / 12:15 PM / 9 months ago

Spain to continue Bankia privatisation soon - Bankia chairman

MADRID, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The chairman of Spain’s state-controlled Bankia said on Thursday he was optimistic the national bank bailout fund (FROB) would soon continue the privatisation of the lender.

“I’m convinced that, in the near future, the FROB will have a chance to continue the privatisation process,” chairman Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said during a shareholder meeting in Valencia.

The government has until the end of 2019 to privatise the bank in an effort to recoup money provided as part of its rescue in 2012.

Spain’s FROB has hired an external adviser to continue the privatisation of Bankia and Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said in August it could sell around a 7 percent stake later this year.

The state holds around 67 percent of Bankia and, after a merger deal with another state lender BMN, the FROB is expected to hold around 66.6 percent of the resulting new bank.

Bankia shareholders on Thursday approved the terms of the BMN merger, Goirigolzarri said. BMN also signed off on the transaction on Thursday.

In June, Bankia agreed to acquire BMN, creating the country’s fourth-biggest lender amid consolidation in Europe’s struggling banking sector. The lenders agreed then to a 7.8-for-1 share swap deal, valuing BMN at around 825 million euros ($924 million). (Reporting By Jesús Aguado; editing by Paul E. Day)

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