MADRID, June 20 (Reuters) - Spanish builder Sacyr will use an additional 317 million euros ($358 mln) from the sale of real estate unit Testa to partially pay down a loan it took out to buy its stake in oil company Repsol, it said on Monday.
Sacyr booked capital gains of 1.28 billion euros after selling Testa for around 1.8 bln euros last year and has already used 600 million euros of that to pay down the Repsol loan.
The builder bought a 20 percent stake in Repsol in 2006, to diversify its business away from construction, but the move backfired because of the high costs attached to the loans it took out to buy the stake.
Sacyr has sold down its stake in Repsol but still holds 8.5 percent, worth around 1.37 billion euros, to which is attached a loan now worth 1.31 billion euros.
It is the first time in years that the value of the stake is higher than the value of the loan, a situation that could pave the way for Sacyr to keep selling down its Repsol investment. It wants to exit the investment to refocus on its core construction and infrastructure activity.
However, it would need to overcome a remaining obstacle as its stake is valued on its balance sheet at 15.5 euros per share while Repsol shares closed at 11.29 euros on Monday. Selling now would thus imply a 489 million euros loss.
The Spanish builder services the debt with dividend payments from the oil company. (Reporting By Andrés González; writing by Jesús Aguado; editing by Julien Toyer and Susan Fenton)
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