Spain's Banco Popular in talks with Libra Group for possible asset sale: report

A man walks past a branch of Spain's Banco Popular in Madrid, Spain, May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Andrea Comas/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - The new head of Spain's Banco Popular POP.MC, Emilio Saracho, is in talks to sell the lender's property portfolio and also a stake to Libra Group, online newspaper El Confidencial reported on Tuesday.

The talks with the Greek conglomerate, which has its origins in shipping, are at an advanced stage, the paper said, citing unidentified sources close to the bank.

Libra could invest at least between 350 million and 400 million euros ($380-435 million) in cash, it said.

Banco Popular declined to comment while a Libra Group spokesman said the company wouldn’t comment on market rumors.

Popular, considered a weak link in Spanish banking due to its high exposure to troubled real estate assets, posted a record 3.5 billion euro loss in 2016 while soured property loans eroded the bank’s capital position.

($1 = 0.9200 euros)

Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Vyas Mohan and Mark Potter