Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Lloyds to sell Spanish retail units

Project Verde may have collapsed last week but Lloyds Banking Group managed to bring off a branches sale with the disposal of its Spanish business.

It is selling 28 branches serving around 50,000 mainly expat customers to Spain's fourth-largest bank Banco Sabadell in return for a 1.8% share stake worth €84m (£71m).

Lloyds will take a £250m loss for exiting the loss-making business, which lost £43m in 2012 after big property writedowns.

The Spanish business has around £1.52bn of loans and just £670m of deposits, which means that its loan-to-deposit ratio is more than 200%, or twice the level of Lloyds' main core business.

The deal could see Lloyds receive a further €20m (£16.9m) depending on the how the mortgage book it is selling fares.

It has undertaken not to sell its Sabadell shares for at least two years.

Analysts said Lloyds had little chance of finding a cash buyer for the business given the troubled state of the Spanish property market.

But they noted that by taking Sabadell shares it could gain from any upside in the market.

Lloyds has not sold its Spanish commercial business, which services local businesses.

Lloyds' bid to sell 632 of its branches to the Co-op, dubbed Project Verde, hit the rocks.

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