MADRID, March 15 Spain's bank bailout fund, the
Frob, told nationalised lenders Bankia and Banco Mare
Nostrum (BMN) on Wednesday to begin a process to merge the two
banks, the best option to recover public cash used to bail them
The fund said in a statement to the market regulator that
studies have valued the state's 65 percent stake in BMN at 690
million euros ($733.1 million). The Spanish government also
holds a 65.5 percent stake in Bankia.
The merger of the two lenders would bring Spanish coffers
401 million euros more than the individual sale of each bank,
the Frob said.
In separate statements, both banks said they would look at
the proposal though the final decision to begin the merger must
be taken by their respective boards.
($1 = 0.9412 euros)
(Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez; Writing by Paul Day)