NCG BANCO has been sold to Banesco of Venezuela in a deal worth €1 billion.
The bank was one of three nationalised banks that was still in state hands.
Banesco´s bid trumped that of three of Spains largest banks, as well as bids from JC Flowers, the US private equity house, and US investors Guggenheim Partners.
The deal marks the first successful sale of a nationalised Spanish bank to a foreign buyer since the start of the crisis and follows the government´s failure to sell Catalunya Banc, another nationalised lender, in an auction this year.
Both Catalunya Banc and Bankia, the biggest of the lenders nationalised during last year’s banking crisis, remain in government hands.
The Spanish government has injected almost €9 billion into NCG Banco, meaning in spite of the sale it will still be sitting on a heavy loss.
However, unlike in previous privatisations, the state is not providing an asset protection regime to Banesco, meaning Madrid avoids any exposure to future losses at NCG.