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February 7, 2014

European Banks Continue to Shed Unwanted Assets

“European banks on Thursday continued taking steps to unload unwanted assets as they prepare for crucial financial-health checks to be carried out later this year by regulators at the European Central Bank.”

“In Italy, the country’s two biggest banks by assets, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and UniCredit SpA, are in preliminary talks with U.S. private-equity firm KKR & Co. to create a financial vehicle that would allow the banks to sell some of their restructured loans, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.”

“And in Germany, Commerzbank AG said it sold €710 million ($961 million) of souring Spanish commercial-real-estate loans to investors, as part of a broader effort by the partly state-owned bank to clean up after a taxpayer bailout. The sale of the loans will put a “minor burden” on fourth-quarter 2013 earnings, the bank said. It didn’t disclose the price of the sale. Commerzbank still holds around €4.4 billion in Spanish real-estate loans, an amount it is trying to reduce.”

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Read full Wall Street Journal article here.

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