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Mapfre Shares Plunge on Investors’ Bankia Concerns: Madrid Mover

Mapfre SA, Spain’s biggest insurer, declined as much as 11 percent on investor concerns over the Bankia group and as earnings fell at its domestic business.

Shares in Mapfre were down 7.7 percent to 1.91 euros at 3:43 p.m. in Madrid. The maximum intraday decline was the biggest since March 2009.

Mapfre said today pretax earnings in the first quarter for its Spanish direct insurance business fell 27 percent from a year earlier as premiums at the division dropped 3.7 percent. Investors are also worried about the Bankia group, a lender that owns a 15 percent stake in Mapfre, as the government readies a fresh bailout for Spain’s third-biggest bank, Raphael Caruso, an analyst at Raymond James Financial Inc. in Paris, said in a phone interview.

“The market is very concerned about Bankia and the banking sector in Spain generally,” said Caruso. Mapfre is “clearly exposed” to Bankia and to the banking industry generally through its bond portfolio, he said.

Banco Financiero y de Ahorros SA, the parent company of the Bankia group, owns 15 percent of Mapfre and the Mapfre foundation in turn owns 4.3 percent of Bankia.

Mapfre said today first-quarter net income fell 13 percent to 271.4 million euros ($350.6 million) from a year earlier, beating the average 250.3 million-euro estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 11 analysts.

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