Sat. Jul 20th, 2019

Unicaja and Liberbank hope to close the merger by the beginning of June | Economy

Unicaja and Liberbank hope to close the merger by the beginning of June | Economy



The merger project of Unicaja and Liberbank goes slowly, like all the operations in which the entity from Málaga participates. According to sources close to the operation, the calculations they make are as follows. If they continue to agree on the analysis of the balance sheets, and therefore of the valuations of each one in the merger, the project should be presented in the first half of April. After that, it would take a month (or less) for the independent expert who names the mercantile record to issue his report. This would be the middle of May. Then the councils have to convene the meetings, which at least give a period of one month, which would take them in mid-June.

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When all the legal procedures are finished, the effective merger, with the integration plans and closures, would take place in October or November, according to the sources consulted. In the market some experts comment that the entities began their approach last summer, that is, it would take almost a year.

According the internal calculations, the merger will not require capital increase, although they will have to convince the supervisor that they have adequate solvency. A capital increase would punish the shareholders of Liberbank, which already put 500 million just over a year ago. According to their calculations, they could get a maximum quality capital ratio, CET 1 fully loaded, of 12.5% ​​after reducing costs due to restructuring. For this, they will lower their Caser share from 22.5% to 10% to sell the shares in the market and prevent this participation from consuming capital. The plan of the insurer Case is to sell the majority to a fund or a competitor and that Ibercaja, Liberbank and Unicaja remain as minority shareholders.

This operation, of which the Bank of Spain and the ECB is promptly informed, would come after both banks closed their reorganization processes. The question is what would happen to LIberbank if the merger is frustrated. Some sources believe that he would try to continue without increasing capital, following his strategic plan, but others see it difficult and remember the interest of Abanca, who could try again to acquire it.

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