August 5, 2021

The Government once again extends the divestment period in Bankia to seek “the greatest return on aid”


New extension to the presence of the State in Bankia. The Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday the extension of the term for the State’s divestment in the rescued entity, which expired at the end of this year. In this way, the Government delays the date until December 31, 2023, in what is the third extension made from the initial date on which the FROB agreed to leave the capital of the financial group.

The Bankia brand will disappear in summer with the gradual conversion into CaixaBank branches

The Bankia brand will disappear in summer with the gradual conversion into CaixaBank branches

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In this way, the State gives itself two more years of margin of presence in the financial sector in order to achieve better situations in the market to be able to divest. Bankia will be absorbed in the coming weeks by CaixaBank, so the State will go from having 61% of Bankia to 16% of the Catalan entity. “The purpose is to promote the most efficient use of public money, maximizing the recovery of aid, finding the most appropriate moment,” announced the Minister Spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, at the press conference after the Council of Ministers.

The FROB invested 24,000 million euros in Bankia and BMN, with which it entered the group’s capital in 2012. The initial objective was to leave the bank in 2017. However, the Executive of Mariano Rajoy already had to approve an extension in 2016 , which was followed by another in 2018, already with Pedro Sánchez in Moncloa. Now a new extension is approved to bring the date to December 31, 2023. “It is the third extension of the initial sales period, seeking the highest return on aid,” added Montero.

Of the total invested, the State has not recovered more than a small part, around 3,000 million euros, through dividends and two divestments in 2014 and 2017. Currently, the State’s stake in Bankia is valued at 2,900 million euros, taking into account the current price of the group, which complicates a broad recovery of the public aid injected into the financial institution.

Recently, Bankia held its last presentation of results as an independent entity, before the absorption by CaixaBank. In this press conference, the president of the rescued group himself, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, acknowledged that the injection of public capital is “far” from recovering. Despite this, he claimed that the rescue was correct, whether the aid was recovered or not.

The FROB has also publicly acknowledged that it is difficult to recover all the aid injected into Bankia, although it is defended that by having a smaller stake in the new entity, the State will have more flexibility to make small sales when windows of opportunity are found in the market.

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