Currencies

Nomura rounds up markets’ biggest misses in 2016

Forecasting markets a year in advance is never easy, but with “year-ahead investment themes” season well underway, Nomura has provided a handy reminder of quite how difficult it is, with an overview of markets’ biggest hits and misses (OK, mostly misses) from the start of 2016. The biggest miss among analysts, according to Nomura’s Sam […]

Continue Reading

Banks

RBS falls 2% after failing BoE stress test

Royal Bank of Scotland shares have slipped 2 per cent in early trading this morning, after the state-controlled lender emerged as the biggest loser in the Bank of England’s latest round of annual stress tests. The lender has now given regulators a plan to bulk up its capital levels by cutting costs and selling assets, […]

Continue Reading

Currencies

Euro suffers worst month against the pound since financial crisis

Political risks are still all the rage in the currency markets. The euro has suffered its worst slump against the pound since 2009 in November, as investors hone in on a series of looming battles between eurosceptic populists and establishment parties at the ballot box. The single currency has shed 4.5 per cent against sterling […]

Continue Reading

Banks

Carney: UK is ‘investment banker for Europe’

The governor of the Bank of England has repeated his calls for a “smooth and orderly” UK exit from the EU, saying that a transition out of the bloc will happen, it was just a case of “when and how”. Responding to the BoE’s latest bank stress tests, where lenders overall emerged with more resilient […]

Continue Reading

Currencies

China capital curbs reflect buyer’s remorse over market reforms

Last year the reformist head of China’s central bank convinced his Communist party bosses to give market forces a bigger say in setting the renminbi’s daily “reference rate” against the US dollar. In return, Zhou Xiaochuan assured his more conservative party colleagues that the redback would finally secure coveted recognition as an official reserve currency […]

Continue Reading

Categorized | Banks

Caixabank buys Barclays’ Spanish business


Posted on August 31, 2014

The rapid consolidation of Spain’s banking sector took another important step forward, after Caixabank revealed on Sunday night that it was buying Barclays’ Spanish operations for €800m.

The deal adds 250 branches and 550,000 new clients to the Barcelona-based group, along with assets worth €21.6bn. It will cement Caixabank’s position as the largest retail bank in Spain, and strengthen its footprint in Madrid, one of Spain´s richest regions and a longstanding target for the bank’s expansion drive. Caixabank is buying Barclays’ retail bank, wealth management business and commercial banking business in Spain, but not its credit card and investment banking arm.

    The acquisition looks certain to bolster the increasingly dominant grip of Spain´s top three banks – Banco Santander, BBVA and Caixabank – over the nation´s banking market, at a time when optimism is rising that Spain is set for a period of above-expectation growth. It comes only weeks after BBVA snapped up Catalunya Banc, one of the last former savings banks nationalised by the government in 2012 that was still in state hands.

    “[Barclays Spain] has a default ratio below the average in the sector and an increased solvency rate, demonstrating the high quality of its assets and its sound management,” Caixabank said in a statement. According to one person familiar with the deal, the UK bank’s retail operations in Spain also boast a particularly large share of well-off clients, with deposits of at least €100,000.

    Gonzalo Gortázar Rotaeche, the Caixabank chief executive, said: “This acquisition will enable us to enhance our personal and private banking businesses in Spain, strengthening our counselling offer to our customers, and will enable us to accelerate organic growth due to the improving economic context.”

    Antony Jenkins, Barclay’s chief executive, said in a statement: “We announced Barclays’ strategy update in May this year, creating the Barclays Non-Core cluster containing, amongst others, our Spanish retail banking business. We were clear that this business, while not central to Barclays’ strategy, could be attractive to another owner – and today’s announcement reflects that perspective.”

    Morgan Stanley advised Caixabank on the deal.