Spain's Unicaja Said to Meet Banks to Prepare for IPO Next Year

  • Bank value said to be up to $2.6 billion in early estimates
  • IPO talks said to be at early stage, no final decisions made

Unicaja Banco SA is meeting banks this week to explore the feasibility of an initial public offering in Madrid next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

A listing could value the lender at 2 billion euros to 2.5 billion euros ($2.6 billion), according to preliminary estimates, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. Unicaja may raise about 800 million euros from the IPO, though no final decisions have been made on valuation and timing, they said.

The company pledged to go public as part of last year’s acquisition of Banco CEISS, following an agreement with Spain’s bank bailout fund. Spanish companies have raised more than $9 billion from IPOs this year, the highest amount since 2007, as issuers including state-run airport operator Aena SA, sold shares, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

In October, the company said its board approved Rothschild as financial adviser for the listing. Unicaja may appoint more banks for the IPO in the coming weeks, the people said.

“We deny any information on timing and value of a possible IPO since no decision has yet been taken,” a spokeswoman for Unicaja said.

Spanish lenders created from former saving banks, including Banco Mare Nostrum SA and Ibercaja Banco SA, are looking for ways to survive in a market where weak demand for home loans and growing competition for business credit are eroding returns. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA Chairman Francisco Gonzalez said this month that the pressure may lead Spanish banks to merge.

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