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Bankia looks to offload 12% IAG holding

Troubled Spanish bank Bankia will consider disposing shareholdings in several major Spanish companies including International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of Iberia and British Airways.

Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri, the bank's chairman, confirmed over the weekend that he will "logically look to start a sale process" for the bank's group of holdings.

Bankia, the largest shareholder in IAG, acquired its 12% stake following the bailout of Caja Madrid, which had been a major stakeholder in Iberia before its merger with BA. The shareholding is split with Banco Financiero y de Ahorros and has a market value of £307 million ($482 million) at today's share price.

News that Bankia wants to dispose some holdings came after it requested a €19 billion ($23.8 billion) bailout from the Spanish government - raising the likelihood that regulators will demand the bank sells some of its non-core assets.

Other names in Bankia's portfolio of holdings include energy firm Iberdrola, hotel company NH, food company SOS, and financial houses Bancofar and Inversis.

Shares in IAG were down 2.6% in late afternoon trading today (28 May). The stock has fallen more than 25% since February, as renewed concerns over the Eurozone debt crisis combined with recent sector-wide profit warnings and BA's costly acquisition of loss-making UK rival BMI.

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