CaixaBank, the new retail bank by La Caixa, will start trading in the Stock Exchange on July 1st
The transformation of the savings bank La Caixa’s industrial holding, Criteria into the private bank CaixaBank is reaching the final stage. Criteria’s stockholder board approved duplicating the current stocks by issuing 300,000 convertible bonds. The new bank expects increasing its market share in Spain by 50% through business activity increase and new acquisitions in the period 2011-2014. The announcement is made the day after billionaire Carlos Slim bought 900,000 CaixaBank stocks.
Barcelona (ACN).- The transformation of the Catalan first financial institution, the savings bank La Caixa, into a private bank is entering into its final phase. Criteria is the industrial holding of La Caixa and is the embryo of the new private bank, CaixaBank. Criteria will absorb all the banking business, and will manage some industrial shares, especially in the financial sector. La Caixa will initially control 81.1% of the new CaixaBank and will gradually reduce its share to 70% through capital enlargements. This Thursday, Criteria\u2019s stockholder meeting approved issuing 300,000 bonds, convertible into stocks and with a value of 1.5 billion euros. The bonds will be offered to retail investors, including La Caixa clients, despite the fact of already having enough institutional investors to cover the 1.5 billion. However, the bank managers wanted \u201Cto share with the clients\u201D the new bank\u2019s stocks. Their objective seems to be having enough minor stockholders to make the massive acquisition of shares by competitors more difficult. Criteria currently has 300,000 stockholders, and the objective is to reach, with this enlargement, 600,000 stockholders now and 1 million in the mid-term. CaixaBank has an ambitious expansion plan, at Spanish and international level. Within Spain, it expects to reach 6,000 branches before the end of 2014, a figure that will be reached through increasing its client base and with new acquisitions. La Caixa wants to increase by 50% its market share within the Spanish retail banking, passing from the current 10% to the 15% with the new CaixaBank.
Isidre Fainé qualified this Thursday\u2019s stockholder meeting as \u201Chistorical\u201D, as it means giving birth to the new CaixaBank. The new bank will start running on July 1st, and the very same day it will start trading in the stock exchange. The new bank will be built on Criteria, which started trading in the stock exchange on October 10th 2007. Criteria was congregating La Caixa shares in other business, such as in Aigues de Barcelona, Repsol, Port Aventura and Gas Natural, or the real state Colonial. In 2007, the industrial participations represented 83% and the financial 17%. Criteria sold many of these participations, such as the real state business. Now the shares are inverted. 75% of Criteria participations come from the financial sector and 25% from the industrial. Fainé explained that in the future,the objective is that industrial participations will only represent the 10% of the shares from other businesses. This will not be done through disinvestments but by making new investments and diluting the current weight from the industry.
Carlos Slim buys 900,000 Criteria stocks
Yesterday it was public that Carlos Slim, the world\u2019s richest man, bought 900,000 stocks from Criteria, which represents 0.027% of the company. Slim and La Caixa have close links, as Criteria owes 20% of Slim\u2019s financial group Inbursa. Criteria\u2019s and La Caixa\u2019s President, Isidre Fainé, stated that Slim\u2019s share in the future CaixaBank \u201Chas no preset limitations\u201D, after information pointed at Slim controlling a 1% of the new bank.
Servihabitat will increase its capital with 1.4 billion euros
Within the new structure, some of the shares in other business will be grouped in a second company, completely separated from CaixaBank. This second company will be known as CaixaHolding, and will, for instance, run the real state business Servihabitat. Fainé stated that CaixaHolding \u201Cis not a bad bank\u201D to keep Criteria and the future CaixaBank isolated from more volatile business, such as real state. CaixaHolding CEO Gonzalo Gortazar explained that CaixaBank will back a capital enlargement of 1.4 billion of Servihabitat. Gortazar said that, considering \u201Cthe cruise speed CaixaHolding is reaching\u201D the forecast is to reach 600 million euros of profit per year, including the Servihabitat business.