A long list of U.S.-based private equity firms – including Apax, Cerberus, Mason Capital and Amber Capital – are eyeing opportunities in Spain’s ailing savings banks, Reuters reported, citing a report by financial daily Expansion. The savings banks are being forced by the Spanish government to boost their capital after years of heavy lending in the country’s decade-long property boom, Reuters wrote.
(Reuters) – A large number of U.S. private equity firms are eyeing opportunities in Spain’s ailing savings banks, financial daily Expansion reported on Monday, citing sources in funds.
“Paulson, Amber Capital, Viking, Apax, Cerberus, Mason Capital and Dabroes are among the numerous firms exploring the possibility of getting into the cajas,” the paper said without giving details of any deals.
“Investors in the United States are starting to do calculations, which is an improvement when you consider that in the last two years they didn’t want to talk about Spain,” a senior director at a U.S. fund was quoted as saying. “Buying is another matter,” the director added.
U.S. private equity firms have already been reported to be eyeing the cajas which are being forced by the Spanish government to boost their capital after years of heavy lending in the country’s decade-long property boom.
Spanish Private Equity Association (ASCRI) said last month that unlike their U.S. counterparts, European private equity firms tend to be barred from holding stakes in the financial or property sectors. Expansion said none of the private equity firms it had cited wanted to comment on its report.
Separately, Cinco Dias newspaper reported that a number of Spanish and foreign banks were studying whether to make an offer for a stake in Banco de Valencia , a bank which Bancaja — part of the Caja Madrid-led group Bankia — controls through a 38.3 percent holding.
No one at Bancaja was immediately available to comment on whether the bank was up for sale or if offers had been received.
The financial daily cited financial sources. Bankia denied the bank is up for sale, Cinco Dias added.
(Reporting by Sarah Morris; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)