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The PNV puts pressure on the BBVA-Bankia operation before a possible fall of the Government

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The PNV puts pressure to accelerate the merger between BBVA and Bankia before a possible fall of the Government. The Basque group already obtained a commitment at the beginning of the year from Pedro Sánchez so that the operation would go ahead, as exclusively published ForexNews.online, but the coronavirus stopped those plans. Now, the PNV wants to accelerate the operation and that it does not delay beyond the beginning of autumn, according to sources familiar with the situation, because it fears that Podemos will leave the government and that the president may have to call new elections.

Sources close to Ajuria Enea assure that the party gives a high probability that the government coalition between PSOE and United Podemos can be broken because the conditions that the EU will impose so that Spain can access the rescue (cuts, deficit reduction and structural reforms) will be unacceptable to Pablo Iglesias. Hence, it intends to speed up the operation as much as possible, which was its main requirement to support Sánchez's investiture, before it can jump through the air.

The State's general budgets by 2021 they are the occasion to raise this demand again. Aitor Esteban, PNV spokesman in Congress, reminded Sánchez that "he must rely on the investiture parties." Although Ciudadanos has opened up to negotiating budgets, the Basque group will continue to be essential in the face of the expected withdrawal of ERC support. Proof of this power is that it has enabled the Basque Country and Navarra to manage the Minimum Life Income in their territory.

As Bolsamanía has reported, the merger of Bankia and BBVA has the support of the first entity, the Government and the ECB, and the only opposition so far came from the top of the Basque bank. This resistance may yield due to the judicial situation of its president, Carlos Torres, due to the Villa Villarejo case ’. In the financial world, it is assumed that Francisco González's successor at BBVA will be charged in this case. Although he is ultimately saved from a conviction, Damocles' sword of the indictment – which could extend to the entire council – makes him much more likely to merge with the PNV.

To 'sell' the operation to his council, Torres must convince him of two things. The first is that they will get important synergies (Although the sources consulted maintain that they could not materialize until well into 2021 due to the bad view that such a large ERE would be in the current situation). The second is that the exchange equation will be beneficial for the blue bank; In other words, no premium will be paid on Bankia's current price, or it will be minimal.

Precisely, Bankia is trading at levels very close to record lows, around 1.02 euros per share, with a capitalization of around 3,000 million, which is another argument that Torres can use. Against it, the low profitability of the bank based in Valencia. But what favors BBVA shareholders hurts those of Bankia, led by the State, which owns more than 60% of Bankia through the FROB. The argument for accepting the merger would be that the FROB participation will have more 'upside' (bullish potential) in a much larger and more diversified bank than in Bankia alone.

THE ROLE OF GOIRIGOLZARRI

The role of José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, President of Bankia, in the possible operation is also very important. Despite the fact that Goirigolzarri is not a nationalist, his profile of 'Neguri' is liked by the PNV and returning to BBVA would be his revenge after being fired as CEO by FG, the 'intimate enemy' of the 'Neguris', in 2009 after daring to run as his successor in the presidency. In 2012, he left his early retirement to be president of Bankia and BFA.

According to the sources consulted, Goirigolzarri sees the integration of Bankia in BBVA with very good eyes and considers that it would be a good option for the State to get out of its capital at once, something that it has always claimed. Although it would be BBVA who would integrate Bankia, one of the PNV's requirements is that Goirigolzarri whoever presides over the resulting bank, something for which various options are considered.

RETURN THE BRIGHTNESS TO BILBAO AT THE COSTA DE BARCELONA

The PNV is aware that it is practically impossible for BBVA's main management bodies and business units to return to Bilbao, what matters to them is to recover the center of decision. It does not even rule out recovering a minor branch of the blue bank, such as the BBVA Foundation.

Likewise, it continues to aspire to return to the Basque city the five years lost in the business field, despite the fact that the presence of the historic Neguri families in the capital of BBVA is minimal. "But the PNV does not see it this way: they consider that with only 6 deputies, they control the government and have more influence than the Catalan parties, and that, with less than 2%, they control Iberdrola. His intention is to do the same at BBVA thanks to the merger with Bankia, "says a source close to the political group.

In addition, they have the decline of Barcelona as a business headquarters as a result of the process sovereignist what will give more prominence to cities like Valencia or Bilbao, that the PNV would like to become the second pole of wealth in Spain.

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