Popular to sell 6-percent stake in bank to Mexicans

Lender reaches agreement with Del Valle family to acquire 24.9-percent stake in BX+

Spanish lender Banco Popular said Wednesday it had reached an agreement with the Del Valle family, which controls Grupo Financiero BX+, to take a 24.9-percent stake in the Mexican financial group for 97 million euros.

At the same time, Popular has agreed to increase its capital to allow a group of Mexican investors led by the Del Valle family to take a stake of 6.4 percent in the Spanish bank, making them the second largest shareholder in Popular, after a shareholders syndicate, which owns 9.7 percent.

In a statement to the National Securities Commission (CNMV), Popular said it would issue 113.924 million new shares at 3.95 euros per share. As a result of the issue, Popular said its core tier 1 capital ratio would rise to 12.6 percent, making it one of the best capitalized banks in Spain.

Popular said the arrangement is in line with its target of increasing the bank's geographical diversification. It said Popular and BX+ will look to develop the market for small-to-medium-sized enterprises and retail customers in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. BX+ is the 16th biggest Mexican lender in terms of loans and has assets of 675 million euros.

The Del Valle family, which is headed by Antonio Del Valle, is the seventh richest in Mexico, according to Forbes magazine, with a total worth of 4.94 billion dollars. They are shareholders in Banco Ve por Más and the chemical group Mexichem.

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