Bankia Chairman Says Spain Is Poised to Start Stake Sale in 2014

Spain may be able to begin to sell its stake in the nationalized Bankia group as soon as 2014, Chairman Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said.

The government may reduce its holding in the lender “bit by bit” in 2014 or 2015, Goirigolzarri said at an event in Madrid today. Bankia is on course to be able to generate dividends from 2014, he said.

Bankia SA, the listed company owned by Bankia group, posted a record 19 billion-euro ($25 billion) loss last year as it cleansed its balance sheet of soured real estate loans. Goirigolzarri is targeting earnings of 1.2 billion euros in 2015 as he positions the group to return state aid.

“Our objective is to generate value so shareholders can really make that value tangible,” Goirigolzarri said.

Goirigolzarri said that the sale of shares in Bankia SA in 2011 was an “error.” The group raised more than 3 billion euros by listing Bankia at 3.75 euros a share. The shares now trade at about 30 euro cents.

Bankia group is still waiting for Spain’s bank rescue fund to announce the final terms of the exchange of hybrid debt securities for shares in the last stage of the recapitalization.

The Spanish state wholly owns the parent company, which gives it a 47 percent stake in the listed bank. That’s set to rise to about 70 percent when the debt exchange is completed.

El Pais newspaper reported last week that Spain’s bank rescue fund, known as Frob, and the Bank of Spain expect the European Commission to fix a value for the shares of one cent. Goirigolzarri said today he couldn’t comment on the final exchange terms.

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