BUSINESS

Banco do Brasil among bidders for Bankia Florida unit: report

Sale of City national bank could raise 620 million euros

Banco do Brasil emerged as one of the top suitors for nationalized Spanish bank Bankia’s Florida unit, which may fetch $800 million (620 million euros), Bloomberg on Wednesday quoted four people with knowledge of the matter as saying.

Bankia, the Spanish lender that needed the biggest European bailout, is working with Goldman Sachs Group to find buyers and has narrowed down prospective suitors for City National Bank of Florida to a handful, said the people, who asked not to be named, said. Final bids for the 26-branch bank are due in three to four weeks, they said.

More than a dozen banks expressed interest in Miami-based City National, which has almost $5 billion in assets, said the people. Bankia had planned to solicit bids from lenders including BankUnited, BB&T, PNC Financial Services Group and Toronto-Dominion Bank, a person with knowledge of the matter said in December.

Bankia is selling City National under the terms of its restructuring, which requires the company to shrink its balance sheet and sell off non-core businesses and stakes in companies.

Bankia, Spain’s fourth-biggest banking group, received 18 billion euros in aid as part of the bailout of about 40 billion euros for its financial system that Spain negotiated with Europe. The company posted a record net loss of 21.2 billion euros last year on charges to clean up a balance sheet wrecked by losses linked to real estate.

Chairman José Ignacio Goirigolzarri said in February he expected more than 12 bidders for the US bank. Caja Madrid, the biggest of the seven former savings banks that combined to form Bankia, paid $927 million for a majority stake in City National in 2008.

Spokesmen for Bankia, City National and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Banco do Brasil said it won’t comment on “market rumors,” according to an emailed statement. Spokesmen at BankUnited, BB&T, PNC and Toronto-Dominion also declined to comment.

Banco do Brasil, which is based in Brasilia, is Latin America’s biggest bank by assets.

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