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Unicaja and Liberbank boards endorse the merger that would create the fifth-largest bank in Spain

Unicaja bank. File photograph
Unicaja bank. File photograph / SUR
  • The deal could be finalised in the first half of 2021 once it has been submitted to the shareholders' meetings

The boards of Unicaja Banco and Liberbank have given the green light to the merger of the banks that will create the fifth largest bank in Spain – and be headquartered in Malaga.

The deal would create a financial institution with assets of over 108 billion euros, a workforce of nearly 10,000 employees and a network of 1,600 branches.

The joint stock market valuation of both entities - Unicaja at 1.1 billion and Liberbank at almost 800 million - exceeded 1.9 billion euros after the news was announced on Tuesday.

The banks say the merger offers "a strategic opportunity to consolidate the position of both entities".

Manuel Azuaga , president of Unicaja and Manuel Menéndez, CEO of Liberbank.

Manuel Azuaga , president of Unicaja and Manuel Menéndez, CEO of Liberbank. / SUR | D. ARIENZA

The next procedure in the merger process will be to submit it to the shareholders' meetings to be held in the first quarter of 2021.

President

Before they are held, possibly in January, the new board of directors, with 15 members, must be formed.

Unicaja Banco will have 59.5 per cent of the future entity, while the Asturian bank will control 40.5 per cent.

Under the plans announced the merged banks' headquarters will be in Malaga and Unicaja will be the commercial brand with which the new group will operate under throughout Spain.

Manuel Azuaga, president of Unicaja Banco, will be the executive president of the new financial group, in which Manuel Menéndez, CEO of Liberbank, will be number two.