Spain's Popular seeks partners for 30 billion euro bad debt portfolio

People walk past a Banco Popular branch in Madrid, Spain, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina - RTX399G8

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spain's Banco Popular will start looking for partners to buy some 30 billion euros ($34.29 billion) in repossessed assets and non-performing real estate loans as it strives to bolster its books following last month's takeover by Santander SAN.MC, it said late on Friday.

Struggling under the weight of risky property assets, Popular was taken over by Spain’s largest bank for the symbolic price of one euro after European authorities stepped in to prevent its collapse.

Following a review of the banks assets, the new chair of the board of directors Rodrigo Echenique said in a statement that Popular would seek partners for assets with a total gross book value of about 30 billion euros. He also announced plans to replace board members of companies in which Popular holds stakes.

Meanwhile, Popular said it would buy back 51 percent of Aliseda Servicios, which carries out real estate servicing, from the funds Varde Partners and Kennedy Wilson by the third quarter of 2017.

The agreed price for the stake was 180 million euros and will entail a capital consumption for Banco Popular of 302 million euros, the bank said.

Morgan Stanley will advise Popular as new owner Santander attempts to meet its declared goal of reducing the volume of bad assets by half in 18 months and completely in three years.

Popular said earlier on Friday that normal business operations have been restored in branches and other customer contact centers following last month’s takeover.

Reporting by Sam Edwards; Editing by Helen Popper