Lloyds offloading Spanish branches after Verde blow


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The Independent Online

Project Verde may have collapsed last week but Lloyds Banking Group managed to bring off a branches sale today with the disposal of its Spanish business.

It is selling 28 branches serving around 50,000 mainly expat customers to Spain’s fourth-largest bank Banco Sabadell in return for a 1.8 per cent share stake worth  84 million (£71 million).

Lloyds will take a £250 million loss for exiting the loss-making business, which lost £43 million in 2012 after big property writedowns.

The Spanish business has around £1.52 billion of loans and just £670 million of deposits, which means that its loan-to-deposit ratio is more than 200 per cent, or twice the level of Lloyds’ main core business.

The deal could see Lloyds receive a further 20 million depending on the how the mortgage book it is selling fares. It has undertaken not to sell its Sabadell shares for at least two years.

Analysts said Lloyds had little chance of finding a cash buyer for the business given the troubled state of the Spanish property market. But they noted that by taking Sabadell shares it could gain from any upside in the market. Lloyds has not sold its Spanish commercial business, which services local businesses.

Lloyds’ bid to sell 632 of its branches to the Co-op, dubbed Project Verde, hit the rocks.