Spain banks 2017 results confirmed that last year was one of transition for the interest margins. Looking to the future, the pillars of the banking sector’s strategy will continue to be the reduction in problematical assets and the improvement in profitability, within a context where a sustained recovery is still pending (average ROE in 2017 of 7%, on a par with 2016).
Liberbank has signed a binding agreement to set up a company with Bain Capital Credit and Oceanwood. The aim will be to administer, develop and dispose of a portfolio of foreclosed property assets belonging to the LBK group.
Liberbank’s shares fell as much as 30% during Friday’s stock market session and the CNMV has today forbidden short-selling in the stock for a monthy. But there is concern that Liberbank could suffer the same fate as Banco Popular.
The Italian banks’ share prices have taken a beating recently on rumours – partially confirmed – that the ECB has contacted some of them regarding their bad loans. And now some of Spain’s domestically-focused lenders are suffering from a contagion effect, posting losses and underperforming as the scepticism spreads to their own NPLs situation. Banc Sabadell analysts highlight that “the risk of the ECB introducing new provisions or reclassifying NPLs would, in general, not make a lot of sense.”
Spain’s medium-sized banks are prime targets in the next expected round of sector consolidation. But these lenders need to improve their P&L accounts ahead of further integration.
MADRID | By Julia Pastor | Medium sized Spanish entity Liberbank, born from four vanished savings banks hit by the crisis, reflected on Tuesday the renowed interest of foreign investors in Spain’s banking sector. The lender was able to turn its 2012’s losses of €1.8 bn into profits of 48 million in 2013.