Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean


Bankia and CaixaBank want to merge to create a "Great of Spain"


CaixaBank wants to merge with Bankia (photo :F.Dubessy)
CaixaBank wants to merge with Bankia (photo :F.Dubessy)
SPAIN. On the one hand CaixaBank and its 4,460 branches (3,797 in Spain and the rest mainly in Portugal with BPI), its 35,589 employees and its 15.5 million customers (including 13.6 million in Spain). On the other hand, Bankia and its 2,267 branches all in Spain, its 16,000 employees and 8 million customers. Respectively third (behind Santander and BBVA) and fifth (behind Sabadell) Spanish banking groups in terms of assets (€416.39 billion for CaixaBank and €209.47 billion for Bankia), the two entities could announce their merger very soon according to El Confidentcial.

The Iberian newspaper states that CaixaBank and Bankia have filed a regulatory document with the National Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores- CNMV). Reacting to the release of the information, Bankia confirmed in a press release "contacts with CaixaBank (...) with a view to analysing the possible opportunity of a merger operation between the two entities". CaixaBank was more evasive, stating that "no agreement had been sealed for the time being beyond a confidentiality agreement to exchange information to assess the operation".

Spain's largest banking group in terms of assets

Such a merger had already been envisaged in 2012 before the Spanish State entered into Bankia's capital - via the fund for orderly bank restructuring (Frob) - in order to avoid its bankruptcy. Madrid still holds 61.8% of Bankia's shares. However, it must privatise it before the end of 2021 in order to respect its commitment to the European Union, which has already been postponed twice.

In the event of a merger, the new entity would have more than €650 billion in assets, would employ 50,000 people and would be the leading Spanish banking group in terms of assets, taking only those present in Spain, and the third, behind Santander and BBVA, if foreign assets are also taken into account. With a shareholding that would fall from 61.8% to 14%, the Spanish State would become the second largest shareholder behind Fundación la Caixa (30%).

According to the media El Periodico, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, president of Bankia, would become the chairman in the event of a merger, while Gonzalo Gortázar, current president of CaixaBank, would take over as CEO. The head office would remain in Valencia.

Frédéric Dubessy

Friday, September 4th 2020

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