Feb. 28 - Shares in state-controlled Bankia are snapped up in a 7.5 per cent sale. Its owners hope it will prove that Spain's banks are on the mend. David Pollard reports.
It's being touted as a sign that Spain's financial sector is turning itself around. Demand for Bankia shares was two and half billion euros - almost twice the offer. Those shares were sold at just over one and half euros each - around 12 per cent higher than what the government paid, netting a 300 million euro profit. Reuters Breakingviews Pierre Briançon. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Briançon, European Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, saying: ''It's good for Spanish morale, it's good for the bank's morale, it shows that the bank is on the right track.'' Forty billion euros of EU cash went into rescuing Spain's financial sector after the collapse of the Spanish property market. Bankia is itself the product of a merger of seven failed regional banks. It swallowed up 22 billion euros. Getting all that money back is a big ask - but Bankia is in better shape. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Briançon, European Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, saying: ''The bank is improving its market share, improving its loans situation, it has front-loaded the targets, because of course the bailout came with European conditions attached, it will meet all the targets ahead of time.'' The share sale follows a similar offering by the UK's part-government-owned Lloyds Bank last September. Six per cent was sold - another offering is expected next month or in April.