Spain’s Ibercaja could start IPO as early as January, source says

MADRID, December 14 (Reuters) – Spanish bank Ibercaja is in contact with advisers on a possible initial public offering (IPO) as early as January, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, meeting its legal obligation to go public.

Former savings banks such as Ibercaja have had until the end of next year to go public or raise funds to reduce stakes held by foundations as part of a bank bailout Spain after the 2012 financial crisis.

“The bank has reconnected with potential investors and analysts and is currently in contact with advisers to probe a market start in January, which is one of the first windows to kick off the process,” the source said.

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Ibercaja’s board has yet to approve the launch of the investor tour in January, the source said, adding that March and May were also under consideration.

Ibercaja, who has total assets of 58 billion euros ($ 65.6 billion), declined to comment.

Lender’s chairman Jose Luis Aguirre said in April that Ibercaja remains committed to listing its shares by the end of 2022, and chief executive Victor Iglesias said last month that first-half market windows would be “the most favorable”. .

Newspaper Expansion, which first broke news of a potential roadshow in January, said Ibercaja could be valued between € 1.65 billion and € 2.1 billion, or between € 0.5 and 0.65 times its book value of 3.3 billion euros.

Rival Unicaja (UNI.MC) has a market value of 2.16 billion and is trading at 0.54 times its book value.

Last week, Ibercaja said it aims to increase its return on tangible equity (ROTE) ratio from 7.2% to around 9% over the medium term through measures to cut costs and fees across its sectors. most profitable activity.

In 2013, the bank bought out small rival Caja 3 in what was a series of bank mergers to bolster a sector weakened by the bursting of a ten-year real estate bubble.

Ibercaja did not receive any state aid, but Caja 3 received 407 million euros in EU funds, which it has already repaid.

Rothschild (ROTH.PA) is working as an advisor on the IPO project, with global bookkeepers Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and JP Morgan (JPM.N).

All three investment banks declined to comment.

($ 1 = € 0.8843)

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Reporting by Jesús Aguado Additional reporting by Andrés González Editing by Emma Pinedo and David Goodman

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